September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and in recognition of this, we are sharing key information about the disease. Aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. In fact, about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime and it’s estimated that more than 2.5 million men in the United States are currently living some level of with prostate cancer.
What is Prostate Cancer?
The prostate is a small, walnut-sized organ that sits below a man’s bladder and in front of the rectum. Prostate cancer begins when abnormal cells in the prostate begin growing and dividing at a more rapid pace than that of normal cells. As these abnormal cells accumulate, they have the potential to develop into a tumor, which can eventually spread to other nearby tissues and organs.
What are the Symptoms?
In some cases, prostate cancer can develop for months or even years before the individual begins experiencing symptoms. That’s why regular screenings are important. The most common symptoms include:
- Difficulty urinating
- Increased frequency of urination
- Decreased force when urinating
- Blood in the urine and semen
- Swelling of the legs
- Discomfort in the pelvis or rectal region
- Pain with ejaculation
- Erectile or other sexual dysfunction
Preventing Prostate Cancer
Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to prevent prostate cancer. However, there are steps you can take that may help lower your risk. For example, incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Aim for at least 2½ cups of leafy greens daily. Be sure to stay physically active, engaging in 30 minutes of moderate activity every day. Lastly, maintain an overall healthy weight. Since this varies from person to person, discuss your specific eating habits with your doctor.
Diagnosing & Treating Prostate Cancer
There are several tests for early detection of prostate cancer, including Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood tests, Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), and biopsy. The good news is that the 5-year survival rate for most men with local or regional prostate cancer is nearly 100%. Since it is so highly treatable, ninety-eight percent (98%) are alive after 10 years. Treatment options vary depending on the stage in which the cancer is found. Since most prostate cancers are found early, doctors may recommend Active Surveillance to monitor any changes over time. If detected in more advanced stages, Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy (RRP) or Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy (RALP) may be recommended amongst other options.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms above and would like to learn more, visit our YouTube channel where you can find additional information about prostate cancer and PSA tests. To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call our office at 616-392-1816.