It’s time to talk about prostate cancer. It’s a subject many want to avoid, but it’s time to bring greater awareness to what is now the most common non-skin cancer among men in the U.S.
Thanks to efforts like the Movember Foundation and the Step Up for Blue initiative by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, people are becoming more aware of the dangers of prostate cancer, and what can be done to fight it. It starts with understanding prostate cancer, and the importance of early detection.
“In the last 10 years, new research and treatment options such as active surveillance and DNA testing have continued to emerge and change the way we approach prostate cancer,” said Michael D. Bagg, M.D., F.A.C.S. “In particular, new treatment modalities have helped to increase the survival rate of those with prostate cancer. However, early detection continues to be key.”
What Is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate multiply rapidly, causing a tumor. According to Dr. Bagg, most men do not experience symptoms right away. As it advances, men may experience symptoms such as the need to urinate frequently, burning or painful urination, blood in the urine, or difficulty having an erection. These may be signs of prostate cancer or other health issues.
Is It Treatable?
Yes, prostate cancer is treatable when detected early enough. However, since many men do not experience symptoms, it’s essential to find out your risk factor and know when you should start getting screened.
When Should I Get Screened?
If you are age 50 or older, it’s time to talk to your doctor about screenings. Dr. Bagg recommends men start screenings between the ages of 50 and 55. However, people with a history of cancer in the family and African-American men are at greater risk and should talk to their doctor sooner. Early detection is key to successful treatment. Depending on your individual history and risk factors, your doctor will advise you on if, when, and how frequently you should be screened, but a typical schedule is every 1-3 years. Most screenings start with a blood test to measure the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) concentration, to determine if further testing is necessary.
What Does Treatment Look Like?
A number of treatment plans are available. Your doctor will work with you to identify the best course of action based on your personal health history, your risk level, and, if you have prostate cancer, the stage of the cancer. Options for treatment may include:
- Active Surveillance
- Radiation Therapy
Make a Plan Today
Each situation is unique, and your doctor will help walk you through a plan that best fits your health needs. If you think it’s time to talk about when you should start prostate cancer screening, make an appointment with our doctors today.