Prostate cancer is represented by a light blue ribbon throughout the month of September (You may remember September is childhood cancer awareness month, too).
Prostate cancer starts in the prostate gland, situated between the bladder and the rectum in men. The prostate is usually compared to a walnut in both size and shape. It makes up part of the man’s reproductive system and wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages. It is important to know the risks and how they affect you.
- Most risk factors are unavoidable and require regular cancer screenings to detect.
- Prostate cancer is rarely found in men younger than 40. Men over the age of 50 are most likely to develop prostate cancer.
- Obese men are more likely to develop prostate cancer.
- If you have a family history of prostate cancer, such as a father or brother, you are more likely to develop the disease.
- African American men are more likely to develop and die of prostate cancer.
- Men who produce abnormally high amounts of testosterone are more likely to develop prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Many symptoms that occur if someone has prostate cancer are caused by other prostate problems that are not cancer. However, it is still important to know the basic symptoms that can occur with prostate cancer:
- Delayed or slow start of urine stream
- Slow urine stream
- Not being able to empty out all of the urine
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Dribbling or leakage of urine, most often after urinating
Preventing Prostate Cancer
There are many ways to lower your risks of getting the disease…here are a few:
- Follow a healthy diet. Limit your consumption of fats and sugars. Some suggest that a vegetarian, low-fat diet or one that is similar to the traditional Japanese diet may lower your risk. This would include foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Although exercise can not prevent prostate cancer, studies have shown that active men have less severe symptoms at the time of diagnosis than do men that live a sedentary lifestyle.
- Drug Therapy may help prevent prostate cancer.
Ask your doctor about the benefits and side effects of the following drugs that could help control and/or prevent the enlargement of the prostate gland:
Testing for Prostate Cancer
Prostate Cancer is usually detected and monitored through Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing. A PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in a man’s blood. Low levels are generally indicative of a healthy prostate. These tests do not involve any recovery time.