What men should know about prostate cancer
A man may not think about his prostate, until it becomes a problem. So September is designated as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month to help educate men about their prostates, which plays a role in reproduction, and when to seek medical help if needed.
"A man who is in the higher risk categories for or having symptoms of prostate cancer should talk to his primary care provider about the appropriate screening measures and possibly getting a referral to a specialist,” said Dr. Michael Martin with AnMed Health Lakeside Family Medicine. “Early detection increases the survival rate. So the first steps that men can take to help themselves is to find out about their family histories, know the symptoms and talk to their doctors.”
Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly occurring cancers for men. One in nine will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. It is a serious disease, but not fatal for most men who are diagnosed with it at an early stage.
Prostate cancer occurs most frequently to men who are over 50 years old, and the risk continues to increase with age. Family history and race are also factors. Prostate cancer happens more often to African American men, with one in seven getting it.
Prostate cancer can often be found early by testing the amount of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) in a man’s blood. A doctor can perform a digital rectal exam as another way of finding prostate cancer early. Nearly 90% of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed early when the cancer is restricted to the prostate gland or nearby organs. At the beginning stages, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100%.
At advanced stages, however, prostate cancer can spread or grow quickly. Symptoms commonly noted during the advanced stage include:
- Difficulty urinating and emptying the bladder.
- Frequent nighttime urination.
- Painful urination.
- Constant pain in the back, hips or pelvis.
- Blood in the urine or semen.
- Painful ejaculation.
Men who think they are at risk or are having symptoms should consult with their family doctor. New patients can call AnMed Health Wellness Connect, 864.512.3748, to schedule an initial appointment. To learn more about prostate cancer, visit AnMedHealth.org/Cancer.