This article is part of a series supporting The Movember Foundation. Show your support and help us wipe out prostate cancer. Join Mark Hager this Movember and consider making a small donation today.
It’s not glamorous, and many men probably don’t want to talk about it. However, it will affect as many as 1 in 7 men, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Many of us already know someone who has battled prostate cancer. Think you don’t need to worry about prostate cancer? This type of cancer is the number 2 most common cancer affecting U.S. men – second only to skin cancer. And your risk goes up as you age.
Regular health screenings are the best way to catch prostate cancer early. It is most commonly diagnosed after age 65 (6 in 10 are actually diagnosed then). But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to think about it until then. The ACS recommends men start discussing a screening with their physicians at age 50 if you are of average risk. However, if you are at a higher risk, you may need to get a screening even earlier.
Prostate cancer risk factors
The risk factors that raise your chances of developing prostate cancer, include:
- Age – Risk increases with age.
- Race / ethnicity – African American men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Family history and genes – Particularly men with father, brother or son that had prostate cancer.
- Where you live – Prostate cancer is more common in North America. In fact, the Prostate Cancer Foundation reports that the risk for a man living in the United States is 17% while an area such as rural China is 2%.
Screenings save lives
Prostate cancer screening can include a digital rectal exam (DRE) or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Neither test is 100% so be sure to discuss your result with your physician as more testing may be required, depending on your results.
How often you receive a screening will depend on your PSA results – every 2 years if a result is less than 2.5 ng/ml and annually for those with results higher than 2.5 ng/ml.
Although prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, death rates have decreased. This may be because of improvements in treatment and earlier diagnosis with regular screenings.
It is important to understand your individual risks of prostate cancer and discuss this with your doctor to determine when screening is right for you. Regular screenings are the best way to catch prostate cancer early.
The State of Prostate Cancer – Movember
A Note from Mark Hager
If you are a man, I would like to encourage you during the month of November to give some thought to your own health. Go schedule a yearly checkup or schedule prostate cancer screening. If you’re a woman, talk to the men in your life about their health and how much it means to you for them to be here, with you. Screenings save lives, so go nudge your significant other, family member or friend to get on the path to preventative health care.
I’m showing my support for men’s health this year by joining up with others across the globe for Movember. As part of my support, I’m growing a mustache. That’s one of the things we do during Movember. The other is talking to other men about their health and spreading the word about prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s health.
If you are able, I would appreciate it if you could make a small donation to The Movember Foundation.
photo : Todd Baker