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September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate Cancer Awareness

My dad, as well as my mentor and good friend, Dr. Randy Stevens MD, both died from advanced prostate cancer, so this topic is close to my heart.  Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men following skin cancer.  About 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men; lung cancer is the leading fatal cancer for men. 

Most types of prostate cancer are slow growing and can be treated successfully.  Unfortunately, a few types of prostate cancer are rapid growing and successful treatment is uncommon. Risk for prostate cancer increases among black men and all men over age 65. Men with a father or brother who have been treated for prostate cancer are at higher risk for developing this disease. Exposure to certain chemicals such as Agent Orange, used widely during the Vietnam War has also been linked to prostate cancer. 

Symptoms of prostate cancer include but not limited to:  slow or weak stream when urinating, blood in urine or semen, pain in abdomen, hips, or lower back.Screening for prostate cancer with a blood test called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) should be ordered by your PCP at age 50 and over.  IF you have had a brother or father diagnosed with prostate cancer screening should start at age 40.  A digital rectal is another less accurate means of detection.

Treatment varies greatly dependent on type of cancer, stage, age of individual, and co-existing conditions.Screening and early detection of prostate cancer is imperative in successfully treating this type of cancer.

Beth Fields, NP-C

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