Prostate cancer screenings may be an uncomfortable topic for many men, but it’s a conversation that should happen more often—especially with your family doctor.
Why? Because early detection can save lives. Even though prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute say survival rates are nearly 100 percent for people who have prostate cancer that hasn’t spread to lymph nodes, bones or other organs. So it’s important to stay on top of screenings.
I recommend all men age 40 and older speak to their physician about their prostate cancer screening options. I encourage you to be informed and take an active role in managing your health.
There are two common screenings for prostate cancer—the prostate specific antigen test (PSA) or the digital rectal exam (DRE). There isn’t a unanimous opinion in the medical community regarding a preferred method of testing, but many men and doctors prefer the PSA, as it’s a simple blood test.
Here are six common risk factors for prostate cancer:
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Family history
Prostate cancer risk increases as you age, and in the US, African-American men are more likely to get prostate cancer than men of other races. Though many of the risk factors are out of your control, you can control your diet. I recommend a healthy, balanced diet, as men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products can have a higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Also, you can control your exposure to toxic chemicals and you should use all recommended safety procedures when dealing with toxic substances.
If you or your male friends or relatives are experiencing a change in urine stream, a stronger urgency and frequency of needing to urinate, difficulty urinating, blood present in urine or semen, or pelvic pain, contact your doctor immediately, as these concerning symptoms could be signs of prostate cancer.