September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September marks Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and is a time for families to learn more about this potentially deadly disease. Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among men. In addition, the disease is one of leading killers of men. According to the American Cancer Society about 180,890 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and around 26,000 men will die from this disease. However, if detected early prostate cancer can be 100% treatable. But many men (and women) don’t understand the function of this male specific gland and why it is so important.

The prostate is a gland that secretes fluids into the sperm. The prostate grows as you reach adolescence, and continues to grow throughout a man’s life. Enlarged prostates can cause many problems for men as they get older leading to quality of life issues.

It’s not essential for life, but the prostate gland is crucial part of the male reproduction system. Enzymes like the PSA are used to loosen up the semen to help it reach the egg during intercourse. The reason prostate cancer can be so dangerous is due to where it is located. It sits under the bladder, and in front of the rectum. This makes treating prostate cancer challenging in its later stages.


Symptoms of Prostate Problems

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting and stopping urination
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, or upper thighs

What is the Best Screening for Prostate Cancer?

When you think of screening for prostate, you most likely think of a prostate- specific antigen (PSA) test. Lately, PSA screenings have become controversial within the medical community. Experts aren’t sure it prolongs life, and often it can lead to unnecessary biopsies and worry. After a certain age, men probably don’t need a PSA, but other than that we think that a PSA can be a life-saving medical test.

A normal PSA is between 0-4. The number is not as important as PSA velocity. For example, if in one year you go from 1 to 3, then that would raise a red flag.

In addition to a PSA, you need a digital rectal exam to feel the prostate, and sometimes it is helpful to get an MRI of the prostate. Health providers also must examine several hormone levels.


Hormones and the Prostate

We don’t believe that testosterone causes prostate cancer. Most all of the prostate cancers we have found have low testosterone, not high testosterone. With that being said, you don’t want to give testosterone to a patient that already has metastatic prostate cancer.

You have to be watchful of all hormone levels, especially estrogen in men, which may be the real culprit when it comes to prostate problems.


Risk Factors

  • Positive family history of the disease
  • Being African American


Healthy Lifestyles for Prevention

In addition to regular physician visits and health screenings, we encourage healthy lifestyles as a prevention technique. Maintain a lean weight, reduce stress in your life, and take a combination of vitamins and minerals.

Tom Rogers, MD

View posts by Tom Rogers, MD
Tom Rogers, MD, FAARM is a board certified family medical doctor with over 28 years of experience. After completing further studies and receiving board certification and fellowship training in sports medicine and anti-aging medicines, Dr. Rogers formed his own company called Performance Medicine. His passion for fitness and nutrition, along with his experience raising two Type 1 Diabetic children, led him to promote healthy lifestyles to his patients. In 2013, Tennessee Men’s Health Network named him “Doctor of the Year” for his work in men’s health. He is a national speaker for male hormone replacement, and the author of “Total Health Guide." In addition to seeing patients in all three of his clinics each week, Dr. Rogers serves as the Team Physician for the Dobyns-Bennett High School Football Team. Dr. Rogers lives in Kingsport, TN, with his wife Jenny. They have 3 children together, all of whom have worked with their father at Performance Medicine.
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