With the recent passing of Dennis Hopper from prostate cancer and with Father’s Day only a few weeks away, now would be a great opportunity to take time to remind the men in our lives to talk with their doctors as to whether or not they need to be screened for prostate cancer. Women have been taught from an early age the importance of a yearly Pap smear and mammogram, when age appropriate, but for many men going to the doctor, especially for this type of exam can be quite embarrassing. As with most other forms of cancer, early diagnosis is essential to getting proper treatment which may allow for a full recovery.
Prostate cancer in men under the age of 40 is rare. According to the American Cancer Society 1 out of every 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime making it the second most common cancer diagnosis in men after skin cancer. Prostate cancer is also the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men in the United States after lung cancer.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation the majority of men are asymptomatic when it comes to prostate cancer. This is why men are encouraged to discuss with their doctor as to whether or not they need to undergo prostate cancer screenings. Some men may develop symptoms however, many may not. If you develop any new symptom, it should not be ignored. Please note that if you or the man in your life have experienced or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below this does not mean they have prostate cancer, but you do not want to ignore any new signs or symptoms.
- Age-African-American men over the age of 40 and white men over the age of 50
- Ethnicity -African-American men are more likely to diagnosed with prostate cancer than other races.
- Family history-Men with a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer are at a greater risk.
- Obesity-According to the Mayo Clinic obese men are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.
As you can see many of the symptoms listed may be related to other causes, however, it is always best to contact your doctor or encourage the man in your life to contact his doctor if they feel something is not right. Early intervention in any disease may lead to a better outcome versus waiting.
- Urinary Frequency-The need to empty the bladder frequently throughout the day
- Nocturia-The need to get up frequently in the night to urinate
- Urgency-The sensation of needing to empty the bladder immediately
- Hesitancy- Difficulty in starting the urination process
- Burning or painful urination
- Blood in urine or semen
- Erectile dysfunction
- Back pain
- Bone pain
- Swelling of the legs
Do you or the man in your life have regular prostate cancer screenings? Is this topic something you feel comfortable talking about with your doctor? As a woman do you encourage the man in your life to get screened?