September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. With the exception of skin cancer prostate cancer is the most common affecting men. Most are diagnosed in men over 65 and it rarely occurs in men under 40.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 174,650 prostate cancer cases are diagnosed each year. These result in nearly 32,000 deaths or about 1 in 41. One key to fighting prostate cancer is increased awareness.
What is Prostate Cancer?
The prostate is a small gland in men which makes the seminal fluid which mainly transports semen. This cancer typically grows slowly, so early detection permits effective treatments. In fact, in some cases, no treatment may be needed. This is especially so if the cancer remains confined to the prostate gland.
What is Your Risk of Prostate Cancer?
Although the exact cause is unknown, there are risk factors which are known to increase the chance of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer develops when mutations in the DNA of abnormal cells cause cell division and growth. The factors which can cause these mutations to develop include:
- Age – Risk increases with increased age
- Race – Black males tend to develop prostate cancer at higher rates
- A Family history of breast or prostate cancer increases risk
- Obesity also increases the risk of prostate cancer
Early Detection is Key to Survival: What You Should Know
Early detection of prostate cancer is vital to survival. In the early stages, prostate cancer is one of the most treatable forms. This is the reason for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. By knowing what to watch for, more men can catch this cancer in the early stages when it can be successfully treated.
What are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
In early stages, prostate cancer may have no symptoms. In advanced stages, the most common signs include:
- Difficulty with urination
- Reduced urine pressure or force
- Blood in Semen
- Bone pain
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pelvic discomfort
If you experience any of these symptoms, discuss them with your doctor. A simple test known as a PSA or prostate-specific antigen will be performed. PSA is a protein which will become elevated in the blood of a man with prostate cancer. However, an elevated PSA does not directly mean prostate cancer is present. If the PSA test is positive, additional testing will be required to either confirm or rule out prostate cancer.
Kymera and Prostate Cancer Awareness
Since 1998, Kymera has been a leader in cancer treatments in Southeast New Mexico. From the onset, one of our core components has included cancer research. We are dedicated to beating cancer. We have also become known in the region for providing a better healthcare experience in part because of our unique approach.
Along these lines, we actively participate in programs like National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. This means helping our neighbors in Roswell, Artesia, Hobbs, Carlsbad, and surrounding communities become more aware of ways to protect themselves against cancer.
Although treatments have come a long way since our founding, there is more yet to be done. We all have fathers, brothers, and sons who may be at risk for prostate cancer. Knowing how many of us men are about visiting doctors, if they complain of the symptoms above, encourage them to visit us.
We have our own in-house lab and can perform a PSA test or any other screenings needed to protect your loved one. Please do not wait until it is too late.