4 RISKS, 4 SYMPTOMS AND 2 SCREENING PROCEDURES
Hello everyone and welcome to another FACTUAL FRIDAY. We’ve spent a lot of time this month discussing natural disasters, how to prepare for them and how to recover from them.
But, September also is PROSTATE CANCER AWARENESS month, which means it’s time to review the risk factors AND the symptoms of a cancer that affects one out of every seven men. In fact, prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men the world over.
The good news, however, is that while prostate cancer is common and serious – it’s a cancer from which most men will recover and survive.
And, the key to surviving prostate cancer is the same as it is for almost every other cancer – EARLY DETECTION. This one thing will make all the difference in the world when recovering from and successfully surviving cancer.
But, in order to detect a problem early we need to understand what our personal risks are for a specific cancer and what symptoms are typically displayed.
So, let’s get started with 4 BASIC RISK FACTORS for PROSTATE CANCER:
- FAMILY HISTORY. This cannot be stressed enough. Heredity and Genetics play an extremely important part in the development of cancer. Men who have a first-degree relative (father, sibling or child) who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65 are twice as likely to develop this cancer than other men. When a cancer is diagnosed earlier than the average age, it may indicate a genetic anomaly that must be monitored. And, it’s been estimated that 5 to 10 percent of all prostate cancers are linked to a family predisposition for the disease.
- AGE. Of course, age is a predominant risk for developing prostate cancer. And, this is true of most cancers. Sixty-five percent of prostate cancers typically are diagnosed in men over the age of sixty. The average age of a prostate cancer patient is around 70. And, the risk only increases as men grow older.
- LIFESTYLE. This is an important issue for any cancer. The development of most cancers can be influenced by inadequate exercise and poor diet. The misuse of alcohol and the use of tobacco products also will contribute to the development of many cancers, including prostate cancer.
- ETHNICITY. Studies are consistent in finding that African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men. And, these studies also indicate that prostate cancer in African American men is likely to be more serious and without early detection, more deadly.
Now let’s review 4 COMMON SYMPTOMS of PROSTATE CANCER:
- CHANGES IN URINATION. This includes a change in the frequency or urgency of urination. It also includes a slow flow or hesitancy in urination.
- BLOOD IN URINE OR SEMEN. The presence of blood can be due to other less serious conditions. But, if this symptom persists one should always be examined for the presence of prostate cancer.
- INABILITY TO ACHIEVE AN ERECTION. Problems in bed. Every man experiences them from time to time. But, if this inability continues for any length of time it could indicate a more serious problem, including prostate cancer.
- PAINFUL EJACULATION. There may not be a problem in achieving an erection, but if there is pain in ejaculation prostate cancer may be indicated.
And, finally let’s review the 2 SCREENING PROCEDURES for PROSTATE CANCER:
1) The first is the PROSTATE SPECIFIC ANTIGEN BLOOD TEST or the PSA. Now, protein specific antigen is a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland. The PSA test is a simple blood test that measures the level of this protein in a man’s blood. The test is performed in a physician’s office and the blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis. If the results show an elevated level of PSA, the presence of prostate cancer may be indicated.
2) The second is the DIGITAL RECTAL EXAM or DRE. This is another easy exam that can be performed in a physician’s office. Gently inserting one lubricated gloved finger into the rectum, the physician will use the other hand to press lightly on one’s lower belly. In this way, the physician can feel for any lumps, bumps or abnormalities that may indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
As with any cancer screening procedure, the frequency with which these tests are conducted will depend upon the patient’s medical history and level of risk – and will be determined by each patient and his physician.
And, there we have it Gentlemen. Understanding your personal risk factors and knowing the most common symptoms associated with prostate cancer will enable you to take a PROACTIVE APPROACH to your personal healthcare.
Remember, these symptoms may indicate other less serious conditions. But, IF you should experience any of the above symptoms, always contact your primary care physician and undergo a thorough examination.
Because, what’s true in sports also is true in Cancer Care. Our BEST DEFENSE is a STRONG OFFENSE. So, get out there and be PROACTIVE. Take advantage of the available prostate cancer screening procedures. Consult with your physician. And, come up with a plan that will offer you the best protection
DON’T BE SURPRISED – BE PREPARED!
Thanks again for joining me everyone. Until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .