2020 National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
September 3, 2020
By Josef Halcomb
1 in every 9 men will develop Prostate Cancer in their lifetime… making Prostate Cancer the second most common cancer among men, behind skin cancer. 1 in every 41 men die from Prostate Cancer.
We want men to know that death from Prostate Cancer is avoidable! Most men who are diagnosed in the early stages of prostate cancer are able to live a normal, healthy life. The issue is the lack of testing and men’s avoidance of going to the doctor in their 40’s and 50’s. Here are a few reasons you should get tested for prostate cancer.
Know the Risk Factors
There are 4 primary risk factors for developing prostate cancer.
- Age: The risk of prostate cancer increases with age. The majority of men with prostate cancer are over 50, with 65+ making up the largest age group of men with prostate cancer. Zero Cancer, a non-profit organization dedicated to prostate cancer education, testing, patient support, and more, recommends talking with your doctor and getting tested for prostate cancer in your 40’s and continuing to test every 6 months to 1 year up until about 75. You can be Too Old For a Prostate Exam, however, you should work with your doctor to determine what testing frequency is right for you.
- Family History: Men with at least one close relative who has had prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer. It is helpful to know your family’s health history and what conditions you may be predisposed to developing.
- Diet: Men who eat large amounts of fat are most likely to develop prostate cancer. Similarly, men who consume a lot of meat and dairy are more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who consume rice, soy, and vegetable rich diets.
- Race: African American men are 1.7 times more likely to develop prostate cancer and 2.3 times more likely to die from it, compared to white men. Researchers have not pinpointed why African American men are much more likely to develop prostate cancer, but it remains a notable risk factor.
Don’t Mess with Cancer
The earlier you detect prostate cancer the easier the treatment and the lower the risk of complications and death. While 1 in 41 men die from prostate cancer, the majority of these deaths could have been avoided had screening and diagnosis been done earlier. 90% of prostate cancers start as local or regional prostate cancer, meaning they are confined to the prostate and maybe other nearby organs. When prostate cancer is local/regional, the 5-year survival rate is nearly 100%, meaning that almost no one dies within 5 years of local prostate cancer diagnosis. The 15-year survival rate for local and regional prostate cancer is 96%! However, if prostate cancer is not detected in the local/regional stage, and it spreads to other organs, known as advanced prostate cancer, the 5-year survival rate is only 30%. This is why early testing and detection is so important! 70% of men who develop advanced prostate cancer die with 5 years of diagnosis.
As men, we can do better! We urge men in their 40’s to not wait to visit the doctor and not wait to get tested for prostate cancer. To help, here is a tool to locate a prostate cancer screening center near you.
The Test is Easy
The test is quick and easy and typically includes a physical exam and a blood test. However, a lot of men want to avoid a rectal exam at all costs. Even actor and comedian Dax Shepard made a video about avoiding Prostate exams.
Prostate Cancer is Very Treatable
When prostate cancer is detected in the local or regional stage, the treatment is fairly easy. Typically, treatment involves active surveillance, surgery, or other treatments. Active surveillance involves closely monitoring the prostate cancer through regular check-ups and repeat testing (PSA test and prostate biopsy). Your doctor may also recommend a prostatectomy, or surgery to remove the prostate. Other treatments include radiation therapy (using radiation to kill cancer cells), HIFU (high-intensity ultrasound that uses heat to kill cancer cells), Cryotherapy (freezing of the tumor to kill cancer cells).
Prostate Cancer and Incontinence
An outcome, or side effect, of prostate cancer and prostate cancer treatment can be temporary or permanent urinary incontinence. This is because the prostate is essential to the male urinary tract and when removed or treated, can disrupt the way your urinary tract works. If you experience any bladder control problems after prostate cancer treatment, Tranquility can help. The Tranquility Male Guard and other absorbent products can help you manage bladder leaks, so you feel confident and in control.
Take the first step and talk to your doctor about your risk of prostate cancer and when you should get tested. The best way to continue living a happy and healthy life is to obtain yearly checkups with your doctor starting in your 40’s and beyond. Join us in raising awareness for National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month by talking to a friend or family member about Prostate Cancer. You never know… you could save someone’s life!
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