Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States – and prostate cancer is one strain that just isn’t talked about often enough. It is the leading cause of death from cancer in men over age 75. In 2012, prostate cancer killed 28,170 men in the United States. What’s even more intimidating, is that 241,740 more men were diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. With numbers that staggering, it’s hard not to feel a need to address this elephant in the room.
The prostate gland is a small, walnut-sized structure that is found in the male reproductive system which is located below the bladder, and in front of the rectum. Prostate cancer, is a strain of cancer which forms in the prostate tissues of older men (but not typically in men under age 40).
Men most at risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer include:
- Those Over Age 60
- Those with a family history of prostate cancer.
- Those who have been exposed agent orange.
- Those who drink alcohol in excess.
- Those with diets high in animal fat.
- Tire plant workers
- Those who have been around cadmium.
- (Vegetarians are less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.)
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Include:
(Keep in mind that these symptoms usually occur in the later stages of prostate cancer.)
- A slow start to the urinary stream
- Leakage of urine after urination
- Slow urinary stream
- Straining during urination
- Blood in urine or semen
- Bone pain and tenderness in the pelvic bones or lower back
Signs and Tests for Prostate Cancer:
A blood test called PSA (or Prostate-Specific Antigen) is often used to screen for prostate cancer before symptoms even occur. If your PSA level is high, your doctor will typically recommend a biopsy – he/she may also recommend one if a rectal exam were to show a large, hard, or uneven surface on the prostate.
The results of the PSA test are scored with a Gleason grade. – This tells how fast the cancer might spread.
- Scores 2-5: Indicate a low-grade cancer
- Scores 6-7: Indicate an intermediate-grade cancer
- Socres 8-10: Indicate a high-grade cancer
Treatments for Prostate Cancer:
In short, although scheduling a prostate exam is nerve-racking, invasive, and ultimately a less-than pleasurable experience for most – it’s an important thing to do. Not only for your own health, but for your family too!