Father’s Day: Get screened for prostate cancer

With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, many wives, children, and families will be searching the perfect gift to give a father that shows them how much they appreciate them. The best gift you can give a person is their health and well-being. Being that prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, having the man or men in your life get screened for prostate cancer is an invaluable way to show how much you care. If a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, early detection is the key to beating it.   


Key facts about prostate cancer for 2015:

·         1 in 7 men in the US will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime

·         2nd most common cancer among US men after skin cancer

·         2nd leading cause of death in US men after lung cancer

·         1 in 38 men will die of prostate cancer

·         African-American men have highest risk; more likely to develop aggressive disease, be diagnosed at younger age, and 2.5 times as likely to die from it

Prostate cancer screening consists of a simple PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test, and a DRE (digital rectal exam). Currently, these are the only two tools that are used, in combination, to screen for prostate cancer. There is often controversy surrounding the PSA test due to it not being specific for prostate cancer. Other than prostate cancer, abnormal PSA results could indicate conditions like enlarged prostate or prostatitis.  However, the PSA test is the best blood test available to measure the amount of PSA in the blood - a biomarker for prostate cancer. It is important to discuss your results with a urologist who specializes in prostate cancer. They will also assess your risk factors (age, race, family history) to determine the most optimal plan of action.

The best way to prevent prostate cancer is by being proactive about your health. Here’s how:

1.    Know the risk factors.

§  Race/Ethnicity – African-American men are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 2.5 times as likely to die from it, compared to Caucasian men.

§  Age – More than 65% of prostate cancers occur in men over 65. However, young men get it too, and it is usually more aggressive.

§  Family history – Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk for getting prostate cancer.

§  Weight – Obese men (BMI 30+) have greater risk for developing aggressive prostate cancer, and are 33% more likely to die from it.

2.    Maintain a healthy diet and be physically active.

§  Low-fat, fruits and veggies, fish, more plants than animals, less dairy

§  At least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week

3.    Get routine screenings.

§  PSA blood test and DRE once a year.

4.    Treat quickly, and aggressively.

§  If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, talk to a specialist about treatment options to determine which type is best for your cancer and when to have it done. Listen to your doctor; do not procrastinate. If appropriate, a robotic prostatectomy is often the most successful form of treatment.