Along with ovarian cancer awareness month, September is also prostate cancer awareness month. Prostate cancer is a very common cancer that affects the male sex gland which produces seminal fluid and transports the sperm.
Statistics: It is expected that one in nine men will have a prostate cancer diagnosis during his lifetime. It is the second leading cause of death in men after lung cancer. Although it is considered a common cancer, most men with a prostate cancer diagnosis do not die from it and almost three million men in the United States with prostate cancer are still alive.
Who is at risk? Prostate cancer usually affects older men with age 66 being the average age for a diagnosis. It is rare for a man to have prostate cancer under the age of 40, but it does happen. A man’s risk increases rapidly after age 50.
African-American men are also at higher risk as well as men from the Caribbean.
There may be a genetic link to prostate cancer, as it does run in families–especially brothers. However, family history does not always to play a part.
Also, obese men are more at risk as obese men sometimes have more advanced disease which is harder to treat.
Symptoms: Typically, prostate cancer has no symptoms in its early stages. In later stages a man may notice:
- Difficulty urinating
- Decreased urine stream
- Pain in pelvis
- Bone pain
- Blood in semen
- Erectile dysfunction
Possible treatment options include:
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Stereotactic radiosurgery
How to prevent: There is no sure-fire way to prevent prostate cancer, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk.
- Eat a healthy diet consisting of lots of fruit and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
As always, talk to your doctor about your risk–especially if you notice any of the above symptoms or have any questions or concerns.
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