(NAPS) -- If you or someone you care about is a man over 50, now may be a good time to ask a doctor about prostate cancer screening.
According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed solid tumor in men; in fact, nearly one in nine men will develop prostate cancer over their lifetime. While this data appears to indicate an improvement in the number of men diagnosed with this disease according to historical figures, the information is deceiving. The American Cancer Society estimates 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer to be diagnosed in the United States this year alone. While some believe that prostate cancer is a slow-growing disease that is not a major health issue, nothing could be further from the truth. Prostate cancer continues to be a leading cause of cancer death -- but if caught in the early stages, it's just about 100 percent survivable. In fact, more than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.
Unfortunately, diagnosing prostate cancer can be difficult. There are generally no symptoms until the disease has spread outside of the prostate. Most symptoms that men associate with their prostate are related to difficulty with urination, but those symptoms are more commonly associated with benign enlargement of the prostate. That's why Henry Schein, Inc. -- the world's largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health, and medical practitioners -- and the Integrated Medical Foundation stress the importance of getting checked regularly, especially if you're susceptible. The importance of PSA screening was underscored by the recent recommendation by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, which acknowledged the importance of prostate cancer screening and suggested that men between the ages of 50 and 69 discuss screening with their physician.
"Prostate cancer has taken far too many fathers, sons, brothers and friends for us to remain silent about the importance of prostate cancer screenings," said Dr. Deepak A. Kapoor, founder, Integrated Medical Foundation. "The true tragedy is that with early detection, prostate cancer is almost invariably curable. Now is the time to speak with the men in your life and make sure they discuss a prostate cancer screening with their doctor."
Who Is at Risk?
Particular risk factors for prostate cancer include:
Being age 50 or older;
An African-American or nonwhite Hispanic heritage;
A family history of prostate cancer; and
Exposure to toxins such as Agent Orange.
How to Prevent Prostate Cancer
Scientists have not yet discovered any surefire prevention for prostate cancer -- research is being conducted to determine if a daily aspirin may be of benefit, but for now, a healthy diet with appropriate exercise is the best option.
If your doctor ever does discover prostate cancer, there are several treatments available, according to Dr. Kapoor. The physician will determine which is best for you depending on the stage and grade of the cancer.
The three most common options are:
1. Active surveillance;
2. Surgery, whether open, laparoscopic or robotic, in which the prostate and possibly some surrounding tissue is removed; and
3. Radiation therapy, such as:
Seed implantation, in which radioactive seeds or pellets are surgically placed into or near the cancer to destroy the cancer cells;
External beam radiation therapy, where radiation is administered from outside the body into the cancer using sophisticated computer-generated images to aim thin beams of radiation at the tumor from many angles -- this type of radiation can be targeted with a high degree of precision to minimize untoward side effects.
You can find information about prostate cancer at http://bit.ly/2krh8jL, http://bit.ly/2urfhkD and http://bit.ly/2u0HCNE.