Dr. Raisa Lerner
Prostate Cancer Awareness
Prostate cancer is among the most common cancers in men worldwide. Most prostate cancers are diagnosed before they spread to other organs and patients do not complain of any symptoms. The overall five-year survival rate of prostate cancer is over 98 percent, which means it is very treatable especially when diagnosed early.
Most prostate cancers are initially found during screening with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test or a digital rectal exam (DRE). Early prostate cancers usually don’t cause symptoms, but more advanced cancers are sometimes found because of symptoms they cause like trouble urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, blood in semen, discomfort in the pelvic area, bone pain, or erectile dysfunction.
If cancer is suspected based on results of screening tests or symptoms, more tests will be needed to confirm the diagnosis. The actual diagnosis of prostate cancer can only be made with a prostate biopsy.
Risk factors for prostate cancer include:
Age. Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age.
Race. For reasons not yet determined, African-American men carry a greater risk of prostate cancer than do men of other races. In African-American men, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced.
Family history. If men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be increased. Also, if you have a family history of genes that increase the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2) or a very strong family history of breast cancer, your risk of prostate cancer may be higher.
Obesity. Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced disease that’s more difficult to treat.
You can reduce your risk of prostate cancer if you:
Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables to improve your overall health. Avoid high-fat foods and instead focus on choosing a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and nutrients that can contribute to your health.
Choose healthy foods over supplements. No studies have shown that supplements play a role in reducing your risk of prostate cancer. Instead, choose foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals so that you can maintain healthy levels of vitamins in your body.
Exercise most days of the week. Exercise improves your overall health, helps you maintain your weight and improves your mood. There is some evidence that men who don’t exercise have higher PSA levels, while men who exercise may have a lower risk of prostate cancer.
Maintain a healthy weight. If your current weight is healthy, work to maintain it by exercising most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, add more exercise and reduce the number of calories you eat each day. Ask your doctor for help creating a plan for healthy weight loss.
Talk to your doctor about increased risk of prostate cancer. Men with a high risk of prostate cancer may consider medications or other treatments to reduce their risk.
Talk with your doctor about your personal risk of prostate cancer or if you are experiencing any symptoms related to your prostate health.