Although September is designated National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month,
men should pay attention year-round to the key risk factors of this type
of cancer, which will be diagnosed in roughly one in seven men during
their lifetime. The good news is that most men with a prostate cancer
diagnosis do not die from it, the American Cancer Society states, so being
proactive about understanding your risk factors and when to get screened
can greatly improve your odds of survival.
The American Cancer Society notes that researchers have identified certain
risk factors associated with prostate cancer:
Age (your risk increases after age 50; the majority of cases are found in
men over 65 years of age);
Race/ethnicity (risks are higher for African-American men);
Geography (prostate cancer is most common in North America, northeastern Europe,
Australia and the Caribbean);
Family history (having a close male relative – a father or brother – with
prostate cancer more than doubles your prostate cancer risk); and
Heredity (inherited gene mutations -- BRCA1 or BRCA2 -- may increase prostate cancer
risk in certain men, and men with Lynch syndrome (a type of colorectal
cancer) may have an increased risk of prostate cancer).
Other, less clear risk factors may include diet, obesity, smoking, chemical
exposure (largely specific to firefighters), inflammation of the prostate,
sexually transmitted infections and vasectomy.
Prostate cancer screening is recommended for men beginning at age 50, but
African-American men and men with a first-degree relative who has or had
the disease should talk to their physicians at age 45 about when to screen.
The screening involves a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
to measure the level of the PSA protein, and may include a digital rectal
exam, which checks the health of the prostate gland and can identify benign
prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate).
There are no warning signs for early-stage prostate cancer – which
is why screening is so important. Advanced-stage prostate cancer may present
with the following symptoms: problems urinating, blood in the urine or
semen, trouble getting an erection, pain in the hips/back/spine/chest,
and/or weakness or numbness in the legs or feet.
Saint Francis Healthcare and Dr. Chiusano will offer free prostate cancer
screenings (PSA and DRE) to under or uninsured men on Monday, September
25, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Screenings will be held at Saint Francis
Hospital (701 N. Clayton Street, Wilmington, DE, 19805) in the Outpatient
Lab on the 3rd floor of the Medical Office Building (MOB). For more information or to
schedule an appointment, call 302.421.4883.