It's National Prostate Health Month! This month is a great opportunity to learn about your prostate health and make sure you're doing what you can to stay healthy.
National Prostate Health Month focuses on awareness and advocacy of prostate health, as cancer is one of the top health concerns for your prostate.
What is a prostate?
Prostates are only found in men. They are a small gland that is located between the bladder and penis. The prostate is responsible for releasing prostate fluid, which is component of semen. As part of the male reproductive organs, the prostate also needs to be taken care of during health visits.
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. About 1 man in 41 will die of prostate cancer.
African American men are the highest risk of developing prostate cancer. 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!
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 year, an estimated 174,650 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Approximately 60% of cases are diagnosed in men over 65. The average age of diagnosis is 66; the disease rarely occurs before age 40.
Given these numbers, primary care and prevention are absolutely crucial. 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 & 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, caucasian, and Hispanic/Latino males have the highest risk of developing prostate cancer.
Diet is another important risk factor to recognize. Men who have a diet that is particularly high in animal fats, meat, and dairy products are more likely to develop prostate cancer (Zero: The End of Prostate Cancer).
2. Stay active & 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, & 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.
Here are symptoms of prostate cancer 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.
How Apicha CHC can help you
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 at our clinic.