September is National Prostate Health Month!
While this holiday may not seem nearly as exciting as other fall holidays like Thanksgiving or Halloween, the reality is that health holidays are just as important to our society as the other, more exciting holidays.
Health holidays like this one bring awareness to health issues that often fade into the background, like men's prostate health and prostate cancer.
Health holidays also act as important reminders for the general population that keeping track of health from a preventative standpoint is very important!
How Prostate Cancer Could Affect You
As with many cancers, the risk of developing prostate cancer increases as men get older, with 1 of every 9 men over the age of 70 developing the cancer.
Those with African American heritage are the highest risk of developing prostate cancer, and dying from it. The second highest at-risk race is White, and the third highest is Hispanic/Latino.
The best cancer prevention method is getting regular checkups! Request an appointment
The National Cancer Institute SEER Program cites this statistic:
"Approximately 14.0 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2010-2012 data." (SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Prostate Cancer).
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of deaths caused by cancer of men living in the United States, and the most likely to be diagnosed.
This means that primary care and prevention are absolutely crucial, as your primary care physician will be able to detect, and most likely correctly diagnose, prostate cancer as early as possible.
Take Your Prostate Health Into Your Own Hands
The best way to prevent yourself from becoming one of the above statistics is to take your prostate health into your own hands.
Here are a few steps you can follow to do your part to take care of your prostate!
1. Understand your risk and inform your primary care physician if you think you are high risk.
A male with at least one close relative who has had the disease has twice the risk of having prostate cancer compared to the general population.
Another risk factor is race. As stated above, African American males, White males, and Hispanic/Latino males are at the highest risk of developing prostate cancer.
Diet is another important risk factor to recognize. Males who have a diet that is particularly high in animal fats and meat and dairy products are most likely to develop prostate cancer (Zero: The End of Prostate Cancer).
2. Stay active and maintain a healthy weight.
Obese men are slightly more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who have a healthy BMI. However, obese men are two times more likely to die from prostate cancer than men of a healthy weight, and the degree of aggressiveness of the cancer is said to be less in men of a healthy weight as well.
A healthy lifestyle and diet are proven to make cancer treatments more effective and make the recovery process easier as well. Check out these resources if you are currently struggling with your exercise and/or diet habits.
3. Schedule regular checkups with your doctor, and know the symptoms.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation reports that many times, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a primary care provider during a routine check-up.
However, there are also symptoms that you can keep an eye out for yourself:
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
If you think some of these risks apply to you, take action! The best early prevention method is to get regular checkups by a primary care provider.
If you do not have a primary health care provider at this time, consider learning more about Apicha Community Health Center. We have many providers who are experts in their fields and can provide screenings for prostate cancer as well as many other types of anal cancer right at our facility in New York City.