September Is Prostate
Cancer Awareness Month
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and second leading cause of death from cancer among American men. In fact, a man is diagnosed with the disease every 2-½ minutes and nearly 200,000 are diagnosed annually. Nearly 40,000 Americans lose their lives to prostate cancer each year.
Despite these statistics, Timothy Wilson, MD, Director of Urology 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," says Dr. 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 weak flow of urine
- frequent or painful urination
- blood in the urine or semen
- pain in the lower back, pelvis,
or upper thighs
Dr. Wilson recommends that all men over the age of 40 visit their physician for a yearly exam. This exam should include:
- a discussion about risk fac-
tors 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. Dr. Wilson suggests the following:
- eat a balanced diet, high in
fruits and vegetables and low
- watch your weight, and make
sure to exercise daily
- limit alcohol consumption
- know the risk factors and be
aware of changes in your body
- see a physician for a yearly
For more information about prostate cancer research and treatment at City of Hope Cancer Center, call 1-800-826-HOPE or visit their Web site at www.cityofhope.org.