September is the National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, so we would like to share with you some general information about the disease. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. It is estimated that about 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with this cancer during their lifetime. Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men, as it rarely occurs before age 40. Although it can be a serious disease, most men diagnosed with it survive with the proper treatment and lifestyle changes following the treatment.
As mentioned above, the chances of having prostate cancer is very rare in younger men, but the likelihood increases rapidly after the age of 50. Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which shows that there may be a genetic factor. Although there is not a clear understanding of what causes prostate cancer, there have been previous studies that examine the role of diet in prostate cancer. Men who consume a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer. This is also true for men who eat fewer fruits and vegetables. So in order to lower the risk of prostate cancer, it is important to control these risk factors by eating the recommended servings of vegetables and fruits every day, being physically active, and maintaining a healthy weight.
As with many other types of cancer, early detection is crucial. Prostate cancer is detected early by testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood or by getting the digital rectal exam (DRE). It is difficult to detect this cancer because of the limits to the screening tests used today. Since both of the tests are not 100% accurate, further testing is required for diagnosis in many cases. The American Cancer Society recommends that men make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer or not.
Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer vary according to the stage of cancer. There are usually no symptoms during the early stages, but advanced prostate cancers can cause symptoms, such as problems passing urine, blood in the urine, trouble getting an erection, pain in the bones where cancer has spread, and weakness or numbness in the legs or feet.
There are several treatment options available for prostate cancer including surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and others. In choosing the right treatment method for you, it is important to discuss all of the options with your doctors [i][ii].
For more information about prostate cancer, visit Prostate Cancer Foundation.