September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, so this is the perfect time to learn about the disease. When you understand risks, symptoms, and prevention, you can help protect your own health or the health of the men in your life.
Know these 3 facts about prostate cancer:
1. Men in the United States are diagnosed with it more than any other type of cancer.
2. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death.
3. It’s estimated that 1 in 6 men will get it, and that 1 in 36 will die from it.
The Risk Factors
The most significant risk factor of prostate cancer is age. A man’s odds of getting the disease increase exponentially after age 50. African American men have a higher rate of prostate cancer. And men with a family history of the disease, meaning that their father, brother, or son has prostate cancer, are themselves at higher risk of developing it.
Trouble urinating or changes in urinary stream, blood in urine or semen, or back or pelvic pain can all be symptoms of prostate cancer. However, these signs don’t often surface until after prostate cancer has progressed beyond the early stages of the disease, so it’s important to consider screening tests for prostate cancer.
Both the digital rectal exam and the PSA blood test screen for prostate cancer. It’s advised that men at average risk for prostate cancer consult their doctor about these tests at age 50 and those at increased risk consult their doctor at age 40 to 45.
Most prostate cancers grow and spread slowly, and some cases of prostate cancer may require limited or no treatment. However, the earlier prostate cancer is found, the better the odds for a successful outcome.