Prostate Cancer Awareness Month: If You’re A Man Who is 50 or Older, You Have To Read This
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, so, yeah, we’re here to talk about that test
But first, some numbers – one out of six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes. An estimated 28,000 American men die every year because their prostate cancer isn’t detected early enough and they don’t get treatment in time.
To restate those numbers, there’s a very good chance you’ll get prostate cancer, and if you don’t find it early enough, it could cost you your life.
Do we have your attention?
The American Cancer Society suggests that starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about the pros and cons of testing so they can decide if testing is the right choice for them. If they are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, men should have this talk with a doctor starting at age 45. If men decide to be tested, they should have the PSA blood test with or without a rectal exam. How often they are tested will depend on their PSA level
The test that so many people are wary of is the Digital Rectal Exam, in which the doctor gently puts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum. It takes two seconds, and then it’s over. It’s not the end of the world; of course, it could be if you don’t get it done.
The PSA test is a blood test that measures prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced by the prostate. The higher a man’s PSA level, the more likely it is that he has prostate cancer. However, the PSA is more of an indicating test rather than one that definitively tells whether a person has prostate cancer.
In the meantime, there are lifestyle choices you can make that will help keep your prostate healthy, including:
- Eat a low-fat diet. Studies show that men who eat the highest amount of fat each day have an increased risk of prostate cancer. Reduce the amount of fat you add to foods when cooking, select leaner cuts of meat and choose low-fat dairy products.
- More fruits and vegetables. They’re full of vitamins and nutrients believed to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
- Eat fish. Fish is generally leaner than red meat. But better than that, fatty fish that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a reduced prostate cancer risk.
- Eat less dairy. Studies show that men who eat more milk, cheese and yogurt have a higher risk of prostate cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being obese increases your risk of prostate cancer. If you are overweight, you need to change your diet and/or hit the gym. Speaking of which…
- Exercise more. The information isn’t conclusive, but there are indications that working out regularly reduces your risk of prostate cancer. So let’s hit the gym.
But most of all, it’s critical that you get to the doctor and get a prostate exam. Knowledge is power, and it could save your life.
For more information about Crozer-Keystone Health System Cancer Services, visit http://ckcancer.crozerkeystone.org. You can also call 1-866-695-HOPE (4673) to request an appointment with a physician who cares for cancer patients.