The American Cancer Society estimates about one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. The month of Septemberis dedicated to prostate cancer, but men and their loved ones can take proactive measures all year long by learning about risks and symptoms, and by seeing a health care provider on a regular basis.
As with all cancers, prevention and early detection are the foremost tools we can use to fight prostate cancer. While the cause of prostate cancer is still relatively unknown, we have learned that age increases the risk of developing the disease. “Typically, those over the age of 50 are more likely to develop prostate cancer,” says Malini Patel, MD, Director, Medical Oncology, The Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends beginning screening for prostate cancer between the ages of 55 and 69.
But it’s not all bad news: thanks to recent medical breakthroughs there are several ways to diagnose prostate abnormalities, including a rise in the blood protein called prostate specific antigen (PSA) or a digital rectal exam (DRE), where a doctor feels the prostate through the rectal wall to look for lumps. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience symptoms such as pain, swelling in the abdomen and difficulty urinating.