Knowledge is power, and when you know the signs to look for, you may have a better chance of beating prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is held each September. So take the time to learn how you can spot prostate cancer early. Over 240,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year, and there are about 28,000 deaths each year associated with prostate cancer. Education, awareness, and early detection can reduce those numbers.
If you are at risk for prostate cancer, you should be on the lookout for symptoms and get regular screenings.
For men over age 75, prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the United States. The disease seldom affects men younger than 40. Here are some risk factors to consider.
- Being African American
- Being over age 60
- Having a family history of prostate cancer
- Having been exposed to agent orange, cadmium, pesticides, paints, and other chemicals
- Drinking alcohol excessively
- Consuming a high-fat, red meat diet
You can get a regular blood screening that may detect prostate cancer before symptoms are even present.
Not everyone experiences exactly the same warning signs, but here are some common ones.
- Difficulty urinating, slow to start, leaking after
- Slow urinary stream
- Blood in urine or semen
- Difficult or painful erection
- Pain or tenderness in lower back and pelvic area (indicates cancer has spread)
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your doctor may perform a physical exam, blood test, urine test, biopsy, CT or bone scan to diagnose prostate cancer. Treatment generally involves surgery and may also include radiation therapy.
Early detection and treatment often leads to removing the cancer before it spreads very far. The earlier it is treated, the more likely it will be cured.
While there is no proven prevention for prostate cancer, some lifestyle choices can reduce your risk.
- Eat a healthy diet low in red meats and dairy and higher in fish and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t drink alcohol to excess
St. Petersburg General Hospital has a Cancer Care center that offers the latest technology in treating prostate cancer. Listen to 620-AM, 1250 AM, 970 AM and 105.9FM in the Tampa area to hear more this month from urologist Nick Laryngakis, MD, who will give lots of information on prostate health, cancer and state-of-the art urologic robotic surgery. Also, visit our online library to learn more about prostate cancer. Spread the word about prostate cancer this Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and be sure all the men in your life know the risk factors and symptoms to watch for.