Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. For the past two decades, health experts, advocates, and individuals have banded together each September to increase public awareness of prostate cancer and general prostate health. This entails educating men about the risk factors and symptoms of prostate cancer, providing prostate cancer screenings, and encouraging individuals and medical professionals to move forward with prostate cancer research, treatment options, and other prostate health issues.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
The prostate is a small gland in men that is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate produces seminal fluid that helps transport sperm. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate begin growing uncontrollably due to cell mutations. These abnormal cells grow and divide so quickly that they overtake the healthy cells, causing them to die. The mutated cells can form a tumor that causes dysfunction in the prostate and that can spread to other areas of the body if not treated quickly.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Some men will experience little to no symptoms of prostate cancer when it is in its early stages, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beginning to cause problems in the body. All men should receive prostate cancer screenings regularly, but if you experience any symptoms of prostate cancer, you should make an appointment with your doctor immediately. The following are the most common symptoms of prostate cancer:
- Trouble urinating
- Blood in semen
- Decreased force in stream of urine
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pelvic area discomfort
- General bone pain
While it’s not known what causes prostate cancer, there are some risk factors that men should be aware of, particularly if they are experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer. Age is the primary risk factor, simply because older men are more likely to get prostate cancer than younger men. Your race is also a factor, as African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than men of other races. Additionally, African American men are more likely to have aggressive or advanced prostate cancer, and they are 2.4 times more likely to die of prostate cancer than Caucasian men. Obesity is a risk factor of prostate cancer, and obese men are also more likely to have advanced prostate cancer that is more difficult to treat. A family history of prostate cancer or breast cancer also increases your risk of developing prostate cancer in your lifetime.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, and a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer every 3 minutes. Thankfully, prostate cancer is also 100% treatable if it is detected early enough. As with any type of cancer, early detection is absolutely key, and that requires that you schedule regular prostate cancer screenings. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors for prostate cancer, and he or she can give you a recommendation about when to get your first prostate cancer screening and how often you will need them moving forward.
This September, join with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to bring awareness to prostate health, and be sure to schedule your own prostate cancer screening soon.