What young men should know about prostate cancer
Ask a young man about prostate cancer and they’ll say, “That’s an old man disease.” While it is true that prostate cancer does occur primarily in older men – the average age at the time of diagnosis is age 66 – 1 in 38 men between ages 40 and 59 will develop prostate cancer. According to recent research, the number of men under the age of 50 diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased 600% in the last 20 years. Prostate cancer can and does develop in younger men and when it does, it is often more aggressive and deadly.
Here are 5 facts young men need to know about prostate cancer:
1. Early prostate cancer has no symptoms
If a man is having symptoms of prostate cancer, the disease is most likely at an advanced stage. Symptoms possibly indicating prostate cancer all men should be aware of include the following:
· Frequent urinating or trouble urinating
· Difficultly starting or stopping a urine stream
· Blood in semen
· Pain or discomfort in the pelvic area
· Bone pain
2. Family history makes prostate cancer more likely
Men who have a family history of prostate cancer are approximately three times more at risk for developing prostate cancer than a man who does not have a family history. For men whose family has been affected by the disease, it is recommended that they begin their prostate cancer screenings early.
3. Prostate cancer in young men is more aggressive and more life-threatening
Older men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and when it is, it typically is a form of prostate cancer that grows slowly and is not as aggressive. In fact, many older men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer eventually die from other causes. In its early stages, prostate cancer often has few if any symptoms. As a result, if aggressive prostate cancer is diagnosed in men younger than 50, it may have often already progressed to a later-stage cancer and is therefore more difficult to treat.
4. What a man eats matters
The more red meat a man eats, the higher his risk of developing prostate cancer. Other foods that appear to increase a man’s risk include fried and processed foods that can also accelerate the cancer’s progression. Men should make more efforts to eat a diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and lean meat.
5. Physical activity matters too
Exercise has countless benefits in a man’s overall health. When it comes to prostate health, keeping in fit and in shape can be an effective preventative tool for reducing the risk of prostate cancer. Men who are overweight have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer and men who are considered obese (body mass index 30 or higher) are even more at-risk.
All young men should have an annual physical exam with their doctor. As they approach the age of 40, they should discuss with their healthcare provider about prostate health and to learn as much as they can about prostate cancer screening risks and benefits.