Each year, more than 186,000 American men learn they have prostate cancer.
According to the American Cancer Institute, one out of six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, which is the second most common type of cancer among men in this country.
“If you are a male age 40 or over, then you should be screened for prostate cancer every year,” said JoAnn Silvers, RN, certified cancer nurse navigator with the Gordon Hospital Cancer Resource Center. “Due to earlier detection measures and increased awareness, the death rate for prostate cancer is going down. But it must be caught early.”
In observance of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Gordon Hospital will be offering free prostate cancer screenings on Tuesday, Sept. 15 and Thursday, Sept. 17 from 5-6:30 p.m. While the screenings are free, registration is required. Please call 706-602-7800, ext. 2305 to reserve a time. The screening, which is recommended for all men over 40 who have not been screened in the past year, will consist of a free PSA lab draw and a digital rectal exam.
“This is not something that most people like to talk about,” Silvers said. “But it is much easier to talk about it now rather than later when it is possibly too late.”
Like most types of cancers, prostate cancer also has some risk factors, including:
· Age – This is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. The chance of getting prostate cancer goes up quickly after a man reaches age 50;
· Race – For unknown reasons, prostate cancer is more common among African-American men than among men of other races.
· Nationality – Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, and a few other places. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central and South America. The reasons for this are not clear;
· Family history – Prostate cancer seems to run in some families. Men with close family members (father or brother) who have had prostate cancer are more likely to get it themselves, especially if their relatives were young when they got the disease;
· Genes – Scientists have found several inherited genes that seem to raise prostate cancer risk, but they probably account for only a small number of cases overall;
· Diet – The exact role of diet in prostate cancer is not clear, but several different factors have been studied. Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products seem to have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer.
· Obesity – Some studies have found that obese men may be at greater risk for having more advanced prostate cancer and of dying from prostate cancer.
“If you are unsure about whether you should be tested, then you should ask your doctor,” Silvers added.
“There are many things to take into account, like your age and your overall health. If you are young and you get prostate cancer, it could possibly shorten your life if it is not caught early, but if you are older or in poor health, then prostate cancer may never become a major problem because it often grows so slowly.”