29 Sep 2014

Calling All Men: How to Watch Out for Prostate Cancer

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What do actors Robert De Niro and Charleton Heston,  former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Yankees manager Joe Torre, golf legend Arnold Palmer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani,  and former South African President Nelson Mandela all have in common? They all survived prostate cancer.

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and for good reason: In the US, after the age of 69, more men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer than any other cancer. Since Rockaway Care Center has a department dedicated to aging men, we are particularly tuned in to the need for awareness about prostate cancer’s symptoms and prevention.

What is the prostate? The prostate is a walnut-size gland that rests underneath the male bladder, just behind the rectum. The prostate is responsible for creating the fluid that is released into the urethra to accompany semen.

I.  Common Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Surprisingly, over 50% of men over the age of 50 are likely to have prostate cancer – it’s just asymptomatic. Further to this statistic, according to Medical News Today, over 80% of deceased men in their 80s had prostate cancer, and not even their physician knew.  Prostate cancer symptoms can simply be very quiet. Still, many people do experience symptoms, and therefore, all men should be aware of the possible signs of prostate cancer in order to seek treatment if necessary.

A.     Earlier stage prostate cancer

1)    More frequent urination, either during the day or night, or both.

2)    Difficulty initiating urination, or continuing to urinate once the flow has begun.

3)    Painful urination.

4)    Blood in urine or semen.

5)    Less common: Ejaculation pain or difficulty maintaining erection.

 B.     Later stage prostate cancer

1)     Spinal, pelvic, inner thigh bone, or rib pain

2)     Leg weakness

3)     Urinary or fecal incontinence

If any of the above are symptoms for you, or if ever you sense something just doesn’t feel right, consult your physician.  He or she will ask you all the relevant questions.  If prostate cancer is suspected as a possibility, a diagnosis is determined by a combination of blood test, ultrasound, and internal examination. Treatment could include watchful waiting, radiation, hormone therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, or other treatments.

II. Is prostate cancer preventable?

While no one is sure of how prostate cancer begins, it can usually be staved off by lifestyle.  That having been said, certain characteristics might be associated with a higher chance for prostate cancer, such as:

1)     Age. This is the primary factor linked with prostate cancer.

2)     Immediate family members (father, brother) suffering prostate cancer

3)     Faulty BRCA1 & BRCA2 genes

4)     Diet. Vitamin D deficiency; high red meat intake; lack of fresh fruits and vegetables

5)     Lack of regular exercise and relaxation regimens

6)     Obesity

7)     Sexually Transmitted Diseases

8)     Exposure to Agent Orange (usually applies to Vietnam War veterans)

9)     African-American descent

As men age, their chances of getting prostate cancer increase. By being aware of symptoms, one can help ensure continual monitoring and, if necessary, treatment for hopefully eliminating the cancer and living a longer, healthier life. In the meantime, taking steps to prevent prostate and any other cancer will serve to help you feel better overall, providing you a healthier life in any case. At Rockaway Care Center, you can know that you are in good company right here for support for prevention, as well as getting assistance should you think you have any prostate cancer symptoms. And if you do have prostate cancer, you will also be in good company with celebrities as well.

Medical News Today

Prostate Cancer Foundation

Prostate Cancer Canada


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