National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month: What You Need To Know


 

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month



Getting screened with your yearly physical is vital in early detection of prostate cancer.  Early detection can save your life.  The majority of prostate cancer cases are curable with appropriate treatment.  Understanding that most prostate cancer  patients were not experiencing symptoms of any kind is all the more reason for consistent examinations.

More advanced cases of prostate cancer will exhibit symptoms such as excessive urination, feeling pressure or as if your bladder is not emptying completely, sexual dysfunction, weight variances or blood in the urine.  Many times, having these symptoms may not be a cancer diagnosis, but indicative of an infection or another physical issue.  Seeking the advice of your physician is important to your overall lifestyle, general health and sexual health.

 

Having experienced the effect of prostate cancer with several friends and close family members, I have learned several things:

1. Know your family history.

We have previously discussed the importance of researching your family history to assist you in maintaining your health, you can read that full article here. If you know there is a history of prostate cancer in your family, your yearly screenings (DRE’s digital rectal examinations) will begin at an earlier age and occur more frequently because of your family history. The guidelines vary according to the level of risk.

2. If you think something is not right with your prostate particularly if you are in tune with your body, make an appointment immediately with your general practitioner.

They will refer you out to a urologist if determined to be medically necessary.

3. Diagnosis and treatment have to be tailored to each patient.

The most critical piece of information we learned throughout prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, is the simple fact that every single person’s cancer is different, so treatment plans have to be tailored to the patient’s lifestyle, past health history, and the aggressiveness of cancer.

4. Prostate cancer does not just impact the patient with cancer. 

It is a major life event, changing your lifestyle, relationships, spirituality, and sexuality.

Should you be diagnosed with prostate cancer, ALWAYS follow-up with an oncologist after your biopsy and results with your Gleason score.  Before deciding on a method of treatment, make sure you have the results of an MRI to use when trying to make an informed decision of which path to take with your treatment. Other extremely valuable diagnostic tools include CT scans, bone scans, and extensive blood work.

Also realize that any type of surgery has side effects, and is not always 100% effective. Be sure to discuss short and long-term consequences from the recommended cancer treatment.  With a cancer diagnosis, you will not offend any physician you have seen by asking to have a second opinion regarding your future treatment.  Be sure to discuss your lifestyle, personal habits and most importantly, your sexual habits.  If your physician does not know these things, his advice and recommendations for treatment may change. 

On September 01, 2019, the White House issued a Presidential Message on National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.  It reads as follows:

 

"Throughout National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we reaffirm our commitment to bring attention to prostate cancer and to better understand the risk factors and early symptoms of this horrible disease.  We also renew our Nation’s pledge to diligently work to find a cure.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men in America.  Prostate cancer, however, is treatable.  Patients diagnosed with a localized or regional stage of prostate cancer have a nearly 100 percent 5-year Relative Survival Rate.  It is critical for men of all ages to become familiar with the common signs and symptoms of prostate cancer and to immediately report concerns to a physician or healthcare provider.  Additionally, recognizing the factors that can increase the risk of developing this cancer, such as family history, age, alcohol and tobacco use, and diet, can be beneficial in improving overall health.

My Administration is committed to ensuring that our health system works for Americans afflicted by this disease, as well as other serious health conditions.  That is why we are taking action to end surprise medical billing and ensure Americans are not burdened by unknown or unforeseen expenses.  In June, I signed an Executive Order “Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patients First,” delivering on my promise to bring increased transparency to healthcare and drug pricing.  At my direction, the Department of Health and Human Services is working to make information about out-of-pocket costs more readily available to patients before they receive care while also instructing hospitals to publicly disclose amounts that reflect what insurers pay for services in easy-to-read formats.  Together, we will work to ensure patients know the true price and quality of the healthcare they receive and are given the information they need to make informed choices.

During National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we continue to support those who are fighting cancer.  We are also committed to learning about the common warning signs of prostate cancer and sharing this information with family and friends.  Through our collective efforts, we can assist in the early detection and diagnosis of this disease, leading to more optimistic prognoses for our loved ones."

Since prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in men today, you owe it to your family and to yourself to stay diligent in keeping your yearly physical appointments, as well as being screened for early detection of prostate cancer.

A healthy diet and exercise have an impact on prostate cancer.  A healthy lifestyle can lessen some of the symptoms associated with treatment of prostate cancer.  It is commonly accepted that obesity promotes prostate cancer.  Smoking is also known to promote prostate cancer.

Stay tuned for our next article entitled: 

SEX AFTER PROSTATE CANCER

and, coming in October:

SEX AFTER BREAST CANCER