September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month – This Information Could Save Your Life Suncoast
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, geared at raising awareness about the most common non-skin cancer diagnosed in men. The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system, about the size of a walnut. Cancer in this gland doesn’t have many discernible early symptoms, and the advanced symptoms can be misdiagnosed as other conditions. It is vital that prostate screening tests be done regularly to ensure this cancer is caught quickly and treatment is undertaken early. Due to effective screening options for prostate cancer, the disease is often caught before it spreads, and as a whole, survival rates are good for this type of cancer.
Our own Sande Caplin, as many readers know, had prostate cancer in recent years, and in an article he wrote for the Suncoast Post credits a PSA test for saving his life. as he explained, “a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the level of PSA in your blood. The prostate is a small gland part of a man’s reproductive system. A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.”
The PSA test is recommended for all men over the age of 55. Some other factors might lower the recommended age for individual men if any of the following are true:
- Have at least one first-degree relative (such as your father or brother) who has had prostate cancer
- Have at least two extended family members who have had prostate cancer
- Are African-American, an ethnicity that has a higher risk of developing more aggressive cancers
It should be notated that screening from age 55 to 69 is vital, considering that this is when most men are likely to get this cancer. As with all cancers, the type, stage of cancer growth, and even aggressiveness will impact treatment options. Open discussions with your medical doctor will ensure you stay on top of testing.
Treatment for prostate cancer is not one size fits all, and there are numerous options depending on the following:
- The size of your tumor and how far it has spread. This is called the stage of your disease.
- How quickly the tumor is likely to grow
- Your age and how healthy you are
- Your personal preferences
From a wait-and-observe approach to chemotherapy, there is a litany of options available to treat this cancer. Research your options, open conversations with others who have experienced this type of cancer, and dig into resources provided by your medical professional can help you best educate yourself should this occur.
September is the month to start the conversations about this cancer with your doctor. Help spread the message about getting tested, and get involved with organizations spreading vital information on this cancer. Knowledge and testing are powerful weapons against this and so many cancers, with the power to save lives.
Featured Photo Courtesy of Deposit Photos