Preventing Prostate Cancer
Experts say that a reduction in the number of prostate cancer deaths can be attributed in large part to an increase in early detection of the disease. However, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 230,900 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States this year and about 29,900 men will die from the disease. Prostate cancer is still the most common type of cancer found in American men other than skin cancer.
Timothy Wilson, M.D., director of Urology and Urologic Oncology at City of Hope Cancer Center in Los Angeles, emphasizes that prevention and early detection can reduce the risk of prostate cancer and improve treatment outcomes for those who are diagnosed with the disease.
“The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown but risk of its development is associated with age, family history, race, environmental exposure, and certain nutritional deficiencies,” said Wilson. “Prostate cancer is often called a ‘silent disease’ because it frequently develops without obvious symptoms.”
When symptoms are present, they may include some of the following: a week flow of urine; frequent or painful urination; blood in the urine or semen; pain in the lower back, pelvis, or upper thighs.
Wilson recommends that all men over the age of 50 visit their physician for a yearly exam. This exam should include: a discussion about risk factors and possible symptoms; a digital rectal examination (DRE) to detect irregularities of the prostate; a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
Men who are at high risk for prostate cancer — especially African Americans or men who have close family members with prostate cancer — should consider beginning these tests at an earlier age.
Prevention is the best way to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Men should take proactive measures to live free of the disease.
Wilson suggests the following: eat a balanced diet, high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat; watch your weight, and exercise daily; limit alcohol consumption; know the risk factors and be aware of changes in your body; see a physician for a yearly exam.