This June is Men’s Health Month – a national observance to raise awareness about health care for men in the United States and encourage them to take charge of their health by implementing healthy living choices and receiving regular health screenings.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer that American men face. About 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death for men behind lung cancer. Although it is a serious disease, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it, and catching and treating cancer early increases your chances of survival.
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is a disease in which the cells in the prostate gland grow out of control. While all men are at risk for prostate cancer, the most common risk factor is age – the older a man gets, the more his risk increases. In addition, men with first-degree relatives (fathers, sons or brothers) who have had prostate cancer have an increased genetic risk of developing prostate cancer. Lastly, African-American men are more likely to contract prostate cancer than other men and tend to have more severe cases at younger ages.
Prostate cancer symptoms vary, and some men have no symptoms at all. However, if you have any of the following, you should speak to your doctor:
- Difficulty starting urination
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Pain or burning during urination
- Blood in urine or semen
- Persistent pain in the back, hips or pelvis
- Painful ejaculation
Screening and detection
The American Cancer Society recommends that men have a conversation with their doctor about the risks, uncertainties and benefits of being screened for prostate cancer. Men at average risk of prostate cancer should be screened at age 50, those at high risk – including African-Americans and men with a close relative with prostate cancer should be screened at age 45, and men with more than one relative who had prostate cancer at an early age should be screened at age 40.
Once you and your doctor have discussed your risk factors and the benefits of testing, you may receive a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. A PSA test is a blood test that measures elevated prostate-specific antigen proteins. Besides the PSA number, your doctor will consider your age, the size of your prostate and the medications you’re taking to evaluate your results.
How Maxim can help
We provide skilled home health care and personal care services for men recovering from prostate cancer surgery and those dealing with the effects of cancer. We also offer respite care services for family caregivers of those dealing with prostate cancer.
Maxim’s services vary by location; make sure to contact your local Maxim office for more information on which services are available near you.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, or if you’re interested in learning more about the condition – check out the following resources:
If You Have Prostate Cancer Guide – from the American Cancer Society
Patient Resources – from the Prostate Cancer Foundation
Health Tips – from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention