September is prostate health awareness month. Just in 2017, the American Cancer Society reported over 160,000 new cases. Outside of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, affecting about 1 in every 7 during their lifetime. September is a month for raising awareness of prostate health in hopes of encouraging men to get their necessary screenings.
There are a variety of symptoms related to prostate cancer, chief among them are urinary. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) described these symptoms being a result of the proximity between the prostate gland to the bladder and urethra. The following can be urinary symptoms of prostate cancer:
- Burning or pain during urination
- Difficulty urinating (trouble starting/stopping while urinating)
- More frequent urges to urinate at night
- Loss of bladder control
- Decreased flow or velocity of urine stream
- Blood in urine (hematuria)
Outside of urinary symptoms, other signs and symptoms that may be related to Prostate cancer:
- Swelling in legs or pelvic area
- Numbness or pain in the hips, legs, or feet
- Lingering bone pain that leads to fractures
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in semen
While Men’s Health offers a few tips for a healthy prostate, one of the best methods to prevent Prostate Cancer from affecting your life is to get screened. There is no definitive opinion on when or how often men should get screened, but it is important for the screening to occur.
Research has indicated that typically, men who are aged 40 or older, should be screened for risk factors. The Prostate Cancer Foundation urges all men to be proactive in their prostate health plan, but especially men who are at higher risk (i.e. positive family history or African American men).
There are different prostate screenings, including but not limited to a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. If either of these tests detect an abnormality, doctors may recommend some additional test including:
- Collecting a sample of prostate tissue
These tests typically aid in confirming the presence of Prostate cancer and the extent to how aggressive it is may be.
As you can see, prostate health is important, especially if you’re at higher risk. Although many prostate cancers grow slowly, it’s best to get your screening sooner rather than later to treat any cases early. As always, your R-Health doctor is available for you to help answer any questions you may have, so reach out to your doctor to help you decide what’s best for you.