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Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Learn more about the disease and if you should get tested.

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer (PC) occurs from mutations in genes in the prostate and is the 2nd most common type of cancer in men in the country. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with the disease, but did you know that PC is 99% treatable if detected early? Prevention and early detection can be a game-changer. Learn more about prostate cancer prevention.

Knowing your risks is more than half the battle. Risk factors for PC include family history, genetic factors, race, lifestyle, and dietary habits. Take this quick quiz from the Prostate Cancer Foundation to find out when you should start talking to your doctor about screening

It is essential to keep in mind that cancer is estimated to be 42% preventable with certain lifestyle changes. This invaluable resource includes simple changes you can make to keep your body safe from the kinds of cell damage related to all forms of cancer.

What Is Prostate Cancer Screening?

Cancer screening means looking for cancer before it causes symptoms. The goal of screening for prostate cancer is to find cancer early that may spread if not treated.

There is no standard test to screen for prostate cancer. Two tests that are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer are—

1. A blood test called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. PSA is a substance your prostate makes. This test measures the level of PSA in your blood. Your PSA level may be high if you have prostate cancer and for many other reasons, such as having an enlarged prostate, a prostate infection, or taking certain medicines.

2. Digital rectal examination, when a health care provider inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into a man’s rectum to feel the prostate for anything abnormal, such as cancer.

What Are the Possible Benefits and Harms of Screening?

This video explains some of the possible benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening.

Screening may find cancer that is likely to spread to other places in the body, so it can be treated before it spreads. This may lower the chance of death from prostate cancer in some men.

But most prostate cancers grow slowly and don’t cause any health problems. If a screening test finds slow-growing cancer, it may cause you to worry, and lead to unneeded tests and treatments that can have serious side effects.

Also, a PSA test can be abnormal, but you don’t have prostate cancer. This is called a false-positive result. A false-positive PSA test result often leads to more unnecessary tests.

The only way to know if an abnormal test is due to cancer is to do a biopsy. A biopsy is when a small piece of tissue is removed from the prostate and looked at under a microscope to check for cancer. A prostate biopsy can cause pain, blood in the semen or ejaculate, and infection.

The most common treatments for localized (early-stage) prostate cancer are surgery to remove the prostate, radiation therapy, and active surveillance (getting tested regularly, and treating cancer only if it grows or causes symptoms). Side effects from radiation therapy or surgery may include:

  • Impotence.
  • Loss of bladder control.
  • Bowel problems.

Thinking About Getting Screened?

If you are thinking about being screened, you and your doctor should consider—

  • If you have an 

increased risk of getting prostate cancer.

  • If you have any health problems that may make it harder for you to be treated for prostate cancer if it is found, or that may make you less likely to benefit from screening.
  • How you feel about the 

possible benefits and harms of screening, diagnosis, and treatment.

For more information:

Fulcro's Wellness Team invites you to join us in promoting this valuable information to the men and boys in your lives so they may live healthier, happier, and longer lives. 

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