Learning the Signs and Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

Today I wanted to share a blog from Nancy Pham of nationalincontinence.com, she is a product specialist who often writes about new incontinence products. This post may be short but it contains some valuable information regarding prostate cancer screening, risk factors, and symptoms. This is a widespread disease and although 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed in his lifetime with prostate cancer, the survival rate is quite high if detected and treated early.

So take a look, do you know someone who has been diagnosed or is recovering from prostate cancer? Do you have a story to share? Let us know.

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Prostate cancer affected an estimated 2.8 million men in the  United States last year, according to cancer.org.  It is the most common cancer โ€“ after skin cancer โ€“ among American men, and  approximately 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with the disease in his lifetime.  Fortunately, the survival rate is quite high if the cancer is detected and  treated early.

 

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a time to  learn about the signs and risk factors of the disease. Early detection and  screening can help prevent the spread of the cancer. However, screening  recommendations have been controversial, as results from the prostate-specific  antigen (PSA) test and the digital rectal exam (DRE) can be inaccurate.  The disease also usually grows and spreads at a slow pace, or not at all, and  overtreatment can cause more problems than solutions.

The American Urological Association (AUA) recently released  new guidelines recommending men ages 55 to 69 start asking their doctors about the benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening. The association  recommends against screening for men younger than 55 who are at average risk,  as well as for men ages 70 and older. The American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests  that men should start discussing screening pros and cons at age 50. African  American men or those with a family history should consider getting screened  starting at age 45. The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF)  recommends against routine PSA screening for men of all ages without symptoms.

Despite the differences of if and when to get screened, the  general consensus is to speak to a doctor about the consequences of prostate cancer screening before going through with the process. Each case is unique,  and an informed decision should be made only after accessing all risks and  benefits.

So who is most at risk for prostate cancer? Researchers are  still trying to pinpoint the exact causes of the disease, but they have identified  several risks factors that may play a role:

  • Being over the age of 40
  • Being African American
  • Having a family history
  • Eating a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy  products, and few fruits and vegetables

Unfortunately, symptoms during the early stages are scarce โ€“  a reason why many people encourage annual screenings after a certain age.  During advanced stages, men may experience:

  • urination problems, such as frequent urges to  urinate and having a slow or weak urinary stream
  • blood in the urine, or hematuria
  • pelvis, hips, lower back pains
  • trouble getting an erection
  • loss of bladder or bowel control, or  incontinence

If you believe that you may have prostate cancer, speak to  your doctor. Men who are in the early stages may not need treatment, but should  be monitored in case of progression (also called active surveillance). For more  information on prostate cancer, please visit the ACS website.

 

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