What Women Should Know About Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the leading type of cancer in men in the United States totaling more than 230,000 cases per year. When a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, it doesn’t just affect him, it also affects his friends and family, and particularly his spouse, parents and siblings. The impact of a diagnosis can be emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual.
Women often play a critical role for men from the initial cancer diagnosis through the entire treatment and recovery process. Because prostate cancer is only found in men, oftentimes women don’t know much about the disease. There are many important facts that women should know to better understand prostate cancer.
What is Prostate Cancer?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system located between the rectum and bladder. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate grow at a rapid rate. It’s possible for the cancer to remain in the gland, but it can also spread to nearby lymph nodes, organs or even to the bones.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
- Age: If you are over 50, your chances of having prostate cancer increase significantly.
- Family History: If men have other male family members who had prostate cancer, their risk of getting prostate cancer doubles.
- Race: Prostate cancer occurs more frequently in African-American men, and they are twice as likely to die from the disease.
Prostate Cancer Signs & Symptoms
- Urination problems
- Blood in urine or semen
- Erectile dysfunctions
- Back or hip pain
- Discomfort when sitting, caused by enlarged prostate
Detecting Prostate Cancer
Communication with the physician along with a balanced lifestyle is important for a man’s prostate health. The best early detection tests are PSA blood tests and Digital Rectal Exams. These tests are recommended for men starting at age 40. PSA results should be tracked over time and any increases in PSA levels may indicate the need for further testing.
Common Treatment Options
There are many options available for prostate cancer treatments, and it is not a one size fits all solution. It is best to talk to the oncologist, urologist or primary care physician to outline the best treatment plan. Some common treatments include: prostatectomy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, cryotherapy, and active surveillance. Treatments may vary depending on the patient’s medical history.
Prostate Cancer Survival Rate
Every case is different; however, prostate cancer is highly treatable when caught at an early stage. This is why it is critical for men to see their doctor regularly and try to live a healthy lifestyle. The more in tune men are with their health the easier it will be to detect when their health changes.
What Women Can do to Encourage Men’s Prostate Health
The best way that women can help the men in their lives is to make sure their men are getting their annual check-up. Going to the doctor regularly is the only way to build a medical history and determine when changes occur which could lead to a health issue. If necessary, make a doctor’s appointment for him to give you piece of mind. And If someone in your life has already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, consider joining a support group to surround yourself with people who have similar experiences.