As September draws to a close, groups are still hosting fundraising events as well as FUN raising events to bring more attention to Prostate Cancer!
This is not a cancer that is considered to be a “cute cancer.” It is not one that you see people flocking to events to insure millions of dollars are raised for research. It is not a cancer that most people want to talk about. This is, in part, due to the fact they don’t know much about the prostate. This partially due to the fact they don’t want to discuss such a private part of a man’s anatomy. And yes, partially folks don’t want to talk about cancer – a topic most people associate with death.
Perhaps the first thing we need to learn is “a man’s prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.” Yes, it therefore has a connection to sex and thus the discussion can be uncomfortable. However, it should be noted that Prostate Cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. It can be very slow growing requiring little or no treatment; or, quite aggressive – a type that often metastasizes to other organs and thus becomes much more deadly.
The cause is unknown. However, a list of symptoms that may indicate there is a problem for which a man should consult a doctor includes: trouble urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, discomfort in the pelvic area, bone pain and erectile dysfunction. These symptoms are often ignored by men until the pain level increases beyond their level of pain tolerance.
Sadly, this is another cancer that most people assume you must be older (at least 40) to develop. Eric Shanteau, swimmer and gold medalist in the 2008 Bejing Olympics, was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer at the age of 22. He spends a great deal of time traveling the USA to discuss the importance of self-examination and early detection for both prostate and testicular cancers. His primary message is to know your body, rec- ognize when there is something wrong and get to the doctor to have it treated and or removed.
There are two screening tests available (DRE and PSA). All men should have a test done, especially if you have a family history. African American men are at high risk for this type of cancer. Radiation and drug and hormone therapies are available. Surgery to remove the testicle is also an option.
For additional information visit the National Cancer Institute website: www.cancer.gov/types/prostate.