September serves as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which is an important month to shine the light on a very important issue, as prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men, and the second-leading cause of cancer death in men (behind only lung cancer).
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be approximately 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer, and an estimated 29,480 deaths in the United States this year alone.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (Enlarged Prostate), or BPH, is very common among older men. It means your prostate is enlarged but not cancerous. Treatments for BPH include: medications to help shrink the prostate or relax muscles near your prostate to ease symptoms. Surgery may also be recommended to help shrink the prostate and urine flow. If left untreated, prostate cancer can arise. Prostate cancer is very common among American men. It can be affected by:
- Age: Men age 50 and older run a greater risk of getting prostate cancer.
- Race: Prostate cancer is most common among African-American men, followed by Hispanic and Native American men.
- Family history: If your family has a history of prostate cancer, you are more likely to have it too.
- Diet: The risk of prostate cancer may be higher for men who eat a high-fat diet.
- Bacterial prostatitis: Usually starts suddenly from a bacterial infection, and can be treated with antibiotics. It can be acute or chronic, so be aware of your symptoms, and talk to your doctor immediately.
To find out if prostate symptoms are caused by cancer, your doctor will assess your medical history, and perform a medical exam on your prostate to check for any abnormalities. If tests show that you might have cancer, your primary care doctor will refer you to a urologist for a prostate biopsy, which will take tissue from your prostate to look for cancerous cells.
Treatment for an enlarged prostate requires medication or surgery, depending on the person’s situation. Treatment for prostate cancer depends on where the cancer is, if it spread to other areas of the body, and on other factors such as age and overall health.
The first and most important step is for men to have an in-depth conversation with their urologist. When you have a consultation with your urologist, ask questions, and ask about the best treatment choice for you and the possible side effects of treatment.
If you have been diagnosed with an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer, it is important to get it checked out immediately, as early detection will give you a better treatment outcome.