Prostate Cancer

The Avenue News - - Editorial / On Health - By ANNA RE­NAULT

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.

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