September is Prostate Awareness Month. Therefore, it’s a good time to focus on Prostate Cancer since it occurs in many men after age 50 or 60 years of age. Therefore, men, as well as their wives and/or partners, need to be well informed about Prostate Cancer, and do what they can to:
- decrease their risk of developing it, or delay its onset;
- know the signs and symptoms of possibly having it; and
- have it diagnosed early, when the chance of cure , or control, is greatest.Â Â Â Â
Prostate cancer occurs in more African American men in the U.S. than in any other racial or ethnic group, so they and their loved ones should begin focusing on early diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer than other men.
What the Prostate Gland and Prostate Cancer Are
Have you ever wondered what the prostate gland and Prostate Cancer are? The prostate is a walnut-sized part of the male reproductive system thatâ€™s located in front of the rectum and just below the bladder. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland donâ€™t grow normally. Instead, they divide and make more cells than the body needs, thus forming a tumor. With cancer, cells from the tumor usually either spread to one or more nearby areas, or break off and spread to further away areas of the body. This last process is called metastasis, which is a more serious form of cancer.
Key Screening Tests for Early Detection
African American men above 40Â years of age should have aÂ digital rectal examinationÂ by their doctor every year and all other men after 50 years old. In addition, prostate cancer can often be found early by testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen or PSAÂ in the blood. However, because PSA test results can have different meanings, itâ€™s important that the meaning be discussed with oneâ€™s doctor in making a decision about how to proceed (See discussion of prostate cancer treatment below).
Key Risk Factors for Prostate CancerÂ
- Being a man over 50 years old–40 years old for African-American men
- Being African-American
- History of father or brother having had it
- Eating too many foods high in fat and red meat
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
Don’t believe the myth that an enlarged prostate means cancer because itâ€™s common in men over 60 years of age. However, since some men with enlarged prostates may have cancer, itâ€™s very important that all men above this age get screened on a regular basis.
Key SymptomsÂ of BOTH Prostate Cancer and Enlarged Prostate, which are basically the same
- Decreased or weak urination
- Frequent urination at night
- Inability to urinate at night
- Difficulty starting to urinate
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Painful ejaculation
- Difficulty in having an erection
- Blood in the semen (or possibly the urine)
- Pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
When a man has any of the warning signals above, he should see his doctor without delay because without a good examination, it’s impossdible to know whether he has prostate enlargement, or prostate cancer. While prostate enlargement often causes bothersome signs and symptoms, it’s treatable whereas prostate cancer needs an early diagnosis for cure, and/or control.
Also, since urologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating prostate disease, in our opinion, that’s the best doctor to see..
Treatment Methods for Prostate Cancer
Choices for treatment of prostate cancer should basically be decided on by the affected man and his doctor, together. When prostate cancer has not spread, choices are generally among the following:
- Watchful waiting, â€“ but with a digital rectal examination, and PSA test being done on a regular basis, but no
treatment unless symptoms or signs develop that the tumor is growing
- Surgery — removal of the prostate
- Radiation therapy to remove the cancer cells
- Hormone therapy — with the man taking certain hormones to stop the cells from growing
in addition, our website has much information on the following additional cancers, each of which is often a major killer or disabler of minorities, than of others. Click below to check them out.
Questions for you
1. Are you aware of your family’s medical histories?Â
2. Do you know anyone in your family who has had prostate cancer?
Remember: Knowledge + Action = Power!Â®
To your good health, physically, mentally and spritually,
Dr. Norma J. Goodwin
President and Founder
Health Power for Minorities