September is prostate awareness month. Spreading awareness of this disease is important, especially among seniors. Men over age 65 account for nearly 60% of all prostate cancer diagnoses.
Men have prostates, which are small glands located near the bladder. Prostates can develop problems like infections or inflammation. Cancer cells can also form in the prostate, which could develop into tumors. There are more than 20 specific forms of prostate cancer.
Unfortunately, prostate cancer doesn’t usually have symptoms until
it is in an advanced stage. That’s why screening for prostate cancer is
There are two main options for screening for prostate cancer. Seniors
can receive a blood test, which is called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. A physical rectal exam may also be conducted. If a doctor suspects a patient has prostate cancer, a biopsy is almost always involved in the diagnosis.
The most common treatments for prostate cancer include radiation,
surgery to remove tumors, and drug-based therapies.
The obvious reason for screening older men for cancer is that early detection increases the odds of survival. There are other reasons for getting screened, though:
• Men with prostate cancer may have genes that predispose both their sons and daughters to forms of cancer.
• Data about prostate cancer, even if it is non-aggressive, can be used by researchers to prevent and treat all cancers.
• Early detection can reduce the intensity of treatment required, as well as the side effects.
• Doctors may be able to begin with the less invasive blood test if a senior’s risk level is low.
No studies to date have definitively proven a prostate cancer prevention strategy. However, some prevention strategies are believed to reduce the risk of cancer overall, and may improve the body’s ability to fight any kind of cancer. Try:
• Eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet
• Maintaining a healthy weight
• Staying active
• Attending regularly scheduled doctor appointments