Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in American men, with one in seven being diagnosed during his lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year alone, more than 161,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and join the nearly 2.9 million American men who have battled or are currently battling the disease. While little is known about the cause of prostate cancer, early detection can help save lives.
The most common risk factor for prostate cancer is age, with about six in 10 cases occurring in men aged 65 or older. It is rare before age 40, and the average age when diagnosed is around 66. Race is a contributing factor as well. African American men are diagnosed more often than men of other races, and they are nearly 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease. A family history of the disease can also increase the risk of diagnosis.
The symptoms of prostate cancer are not prevalent in the very early stages but do appear as the cancer progresses. These symptoms include:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Difficulty beginning urination
- Inability to urinate
- Interruption of urine flow
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Pain during ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Reoccurring pain or stiffness in the back, hips or upper thighs
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should consult with your primary care physician right away for testing. It is recommended that men over age 50 talk to their physician about yearly prostate cancer testing, and those with one or more risk factors may want to consider asking their doctor to begin screenings earlier.
No evidence has been found to prove prostate cancer can be prevented. However, certain measures can be taken to potentially lower the risk. A healthy diet can improve chances of preventing prostate cancer or any other form of cancer. Eating more fruits and vegetables provides abundant amounts of vitamins, minerals and fibers that help your body function properly.
Meats or any food derived from animals, such as dairy products, are high in dietary fat and should be eaten in moderation. High-fat diets are believed to be a risk factor, because it is theorized that fat increases the production of testosterone, which in turn can stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells.
While a prostate cancer diagnosis can be scary, early detection and treatment can help increase survival rates. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, nearly 100 percent of men diagnosed with local and regional stage prostate cancers will be disease-free after five years. Some treatment options can include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Prostate exams are available with any of the Primary Care Providers through the Tooele Medical Group. For more information or to schedule a screening, call 435-775-9975.