Reminders for Men and Women during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September marks Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and as a result, women throughout the United States have a valuable addition to their to-do list.  We are urging women to take advantage of this month, and remind the men in their lives to get screened.  According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 1 in 6 men are affected by prostate cancer in the US.  This makes it the most common cancer in America after skin cancer. This year, there is an estimated 238,000 men who will be diagnosed with the disease – many with almost no symptoms – and more than 30,000 men will lose their life to it.

If detected early, the cure rate for prostate cancer is almost 100%.  This means that most men who are diagnosed at an early stage will be disease-free after 5 years.  These shocking statistics reiterate the importance of getting screened and staying one step ahead of this “silent killer”.  Additionally, men should know they are not alone; more than 2.5 million men are living with prostate cancer in America. Fortunately there are many viable treatment options available for prostate cancer and a cure is possible.

What men and women should be most aware of this month is that “the silent killer” doesn’t have to kill. Understanding prostate cancer and respecting its unfortunate, but significant, roll in our lives is key.

Preventative care is the easiest way to save your life. Below are four simple reminders about prostate cancer:

1. LEARN Your Risk:

Genetics – men with a father or brother with prostate cancer are 2x as likely to develop the disease; having 3 or more relatives with prostate cancer makes a diagnosis almost certain

Race – African American men have a 60% increased risk of prostate cancer over Caucasian men

Age – more than 65% of prostate cancers occur in men over 65

Weight – obese men, those with a BMI over 30, are 33% more likely to die from a prostate cancer diagnosisDoctor greating patient

2. IMPROVE Your Lifestyle:

Staying healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Eat right and exercise. While diet won’t necessarily prevent prostate cancer, eating right can improve your overall health and lower your risk for disease. Exercise goes a long way in improving a body’s strength and wellness, and is certainly part of maintaining a healthy weight.

3. SCREEN Annually:

Men have a huge reluctance to see a doctor about anything. Annual physicals are an inconvenience to them. But waiting for symptoms doesn’t work with prostate cancer.  It is imperative for men to get annual PSA blood tests as well as Digital Rectal Exams as part of their annual routine.  Both these test are quick and painless.

4. TREAT Aggressively:

With a prostate cancer diagnosis comes important treatment decisions. Do your homework and if it’s appropriate to your diagnosis, strongly consider robotic prostatectomy surgery.

Although September is a month dedicated to the awareness of prostate cancer, cancer is not the only prostate related issue which effects men.  It is important to educate the public about all these conditions and improve overall prostate health nationwide. Frequency or difficulty urinating, weak or interrupted urine flow, pain associated with urination or ejaculation, erection difficulty and blood in urine or semen are issues that should be mentioned to your physician. Don’t dismiss them as minor or too embarrassing to discuss.

Prostate cancer will be the hot topic this month. I am looking for women across the country to help with the mission of educating men about prostate health and spreading awareness about prostate cancer.  To join the movement, please visit the “Women for Prostate Health” Facebook page.  I am urging women to seize the opportunity to do what they do best – read, talk, push. Get men to the doctor. To men: Listen to the women in your life! Together we can stop this silent killer in its tracks.

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David Samadi, MD - Medical Contributor

View posts by David Samadi, MD - Medical Contributor
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel's Medical A-Team. Learn more at Visit Dr. Samadi's blog at Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
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