Better Awareness to Prevent Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancerProstate cancer is the most common cancer among men. In fact, some 2.5 million men currently live with prostate cancer. It is also the second leading cause of death from cancer for men. Take these steps to learn more and to identify your risk of prostate cancer.

Know the symptoms of prostate cancer. These can include urinary changes such as increased frequency, weak stream, urgency and pain with urinating; erectile issues; blood in the urine or semen; or hip or back pain. However, prostate cancer may also present no symptoms, so it is important to know your risk.

Know your risk factors. A family history of prostate cancer, diet, obesity and smoking can all affect your risk of prostate cancer. Also:

  • Risk for prostate cancer rises after age 50, but this cancer is extremely rare for men under 40.
  • African-American men are at higher risk.

Talk with your doctor about prostate cancer screening. A screening includes a complete health history, questionnaires about urinary and sexual function, and a physical exam to feel the prostate. It also includes urinalysis and PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests. PSA is an enzyme made by the prostate and can be elevated with cancer, urinary symptoms, infection or enlarged prostate. A biopsy may be conducted if the prostate exam shows irregularities or your PSA is elevated.

According to the American Urological Association, screening is recommended once every two years for men ages 55 to 70. However, your health history and risk factors may require a screening earlier than age 55. Discuss with your doctor if screening is right for you, as there are risks associated with screening, especially if a biopsy is needed.

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