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June is Men's Health Month - Commit to prostate-cancer prevention

June is Men's Health Month - Commit to prostate-cancer prevention

June is Men's Health Month. Sponsored by the Men's Health Network, this month-long commemoration is designed to increase awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men. In support of this annual initiative, ATRIO Health Plans is spotlighting a uniquely male health issue:

Prostate cancer.

If you’re male, these statistics should get your attention:

  • Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.
  • Prostate cancer takes the lives of nearly 27,000 men annually.
  • There are more than 161,000 new cases of prostate cancer each year.
  • Roughly one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

On the upside:

  • When detected early, prostate cancer can be cured.

Prostate 101

The prostate is a small gland—roughly the size of a walnut—that surrounds a male’s urethra. The prostate gland’s growth cycle is unusual in that it undergoes a growth spurt during puberty, and then is essentially dormant until about age 40, when it slowly begins growing again. Stranger still, in many men, the prostate continues to grow; this unbridled growth can result in an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer:

  • Enlarged prostate – A non-cancerous condition, an enlarged prostate is the most common prostate problem. In fact, half of men between the ages of 50 and 60 develop an enlarged prostate, and by the age of 80, fully 90 percent of males are impacted. Symptoms include frequent urination, incomplete emptying of the bladder, a weak urine flow, or difficulty starting urination. Left untreated, an enlarged prostate could result in an inability to urinate, incontinence, bladder stones, kidney infections, as well as damage to the bladder, kidneys and urethra.
  • Prostate cancer – The importance of regular checkups cannot be overstated, as prostate cancer is often detected during a digital rectal exam and/or a prostate specific antigen blood test. The American Cancer Society recommends men learn as much as they can about prostate cancer screening risks and benefits and discuss the information with their doctor before making a decision about being tested. Men at average risk of prostate cancer should have this discussion starting at age 50. Men at higher risk should have the discussion starting at age 40 or 45.

It should be noted that many prostate-cancer symptoms mirror those of an enlarged prostate, with the addition of: painful or burning urination; difficulty achieving an erection; painful ejaculation; blood in the urine or semen; frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.

Prevention

Preventing prostate cancer should rank high on every man’s priority list. Toward that end, experts recommend:

  • Watch what you eat – Studies have shown that consumption of a high-fat diet increases the risk of developing prostate cancer. Conversely, research has verified that a reduced risk can result from a diet featuring fiber, soy protein, fruits, and cooked tomatoes.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – Obesity is believed to be a contributing factor relative to several cancers, including prostate.
  • Pursue positive habits – On the positive-habit side of the ledger, men should exercise regularly, not smoke, and limit intake of both alcohol as well as caffeine.
  • Go H2O heavy – Water should be a man’s first choice in beverage. Men should drink enough water to flush out their bladders, which is evident by urine that is almost clear.

Sources:

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html

https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/prostate-cancer-screening-faq.html

http://www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/prostatecancerfacts.pdf

http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5802031/k.6CE8/Prostate_Cancer_Symptoms.htm