Prostate Cancer Awareness Month – September
Septembers is recognised as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month by cancer organisations around the world with the aim of bringing maximum awareness about prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancer types among men and accounts for more than 30,000 deaths every year in the US itself. About 1 in 9 men will likely get diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes. Awareness months are imperative since they educate men to identify the symptoms and encourage them to discuss with their doctors and thus are responsible for saving an untold number of lives.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Cancer occurs when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. This growth can be due to a variety of reasons such as DNA mutation, genetic disorders or lifestyle factors. These growths can occur in any part of our body and can even spread to other parts of the body. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland start to grow abnormally. The prostate gland is a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. The prostate gland is just below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
Usually, prostate cancer grows slowly, and may not cause serious damage, but it can travel through blood or lymph nodes to other areas of the body such as the bone, and grow there, causing severe damage. While some types of prostate cancer grow very slowly and need only minimal treatment, some others can be aggressive and can spread quickly. Like any other cancer, early detection is the key to successful treatment in the case of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
The signs of prostate cancer are visible only when the cancer reaches an advanced stage. During its early stage, it shows no symptoms and thus is hard to diagnose. It is important to note that most of the symptoms of prostate cancer and an enlarged prostate gland can be similar. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a doctor if any of the following symptoms exist:
- Blood in the urine or semen.
- Frequent urinating tendency and pain during urination.
- Dull pain in the lower pelvic area.
- Erectile Dysfunction.
- Pain in bones or lower back area.
- Unexplained loss of weight and appetite.
Prostate Cancer Causes
The exact cause of prostate cancer is yet to be found out. Research is being conducted extensively, but it has failed to come up with any conclusive evidence. But there are several risk factors associated with prostate cancer.
- Age– The risk of prostate cancer increases with your age. Autopsy studies have shown that 1 in 3 men over the age of 50 has cancer cells in their prostate. But eight out of ten “autopsy cancers” are too small and not harmful.
- Race: For reasons not yet scientifically found, African Americans carry a much higher risk of prostate cancer. They are 1.5 times more likely than the general population to develop prostate cancer and two times more likely to die due to it.
- Family History: You are 2 to 3 times more likely to get prostate cancer if any member of your family has had it.
- Genes: If your family has a history of genes such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 that increase the chances of cancer or if you have a strong family history of breast cancer, your risk of having prostate cancer is higher.
- Obesity: Obese men are more likely to be diagnosed with stage 3 or stage 4 prostate cancer, which will be more difficult to treat.
- Smoking: Research shows that heavy smokers are more at risk of getting prostate cancer. They are also at a higher risk of dying due to prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Prevention
There is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer. Some risk factors such as race, genetic mutations are not in our hands to control. But some factors can reduce the risk of getting prostate cancer. Following these factors will also benefit you if you are diagnosed with the cancer. These are:
- Choosing a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables.
- Choosing healthy food over supplements.
- Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly.
- Men with a high risk of prostate cancer can take 5- alpha-reductase inhibitors after consulting with their doctors.
Prostate Cancer Treatment
Deciding the treatment for prostate cancer can be a complicated process since some cancers grow very slow that treatment may not be necessary, while some others can grow fast and become life-threatening. The treatment will depend on factors such as the stage and grade of your cancer, risk category, age, health and your personal preferences concerning the treatment.
It is always advisable to get a second opinion before you start treatment. There are many options of treatments available, and therefore considering the immediate and long term side effects of the procedure should be a priority.
Need for Awareness
Prostate cancer has a five-year survival rate of more than 99 per cent, which shows that it is mostly curable with early diagnosis. But this report is not to take prostate cancer lightly as ignoring the cancer can lead to it metastasising and spreading to different areas of the body, making it life-threatening. Therefore it is important that people are aware of the symptoms and diagnose it properly before it is too late. We should not forget the fact that nearly 88 men die in the US daily due to prostate cancer. These numbers throw light on the necessity of public awareness of the disease, for which cancer organisations all around the world are observing September as the Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
To read more about prostate cancer, go to our website of ZenOnco.io. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with cancer recently, and need guidance on treatment or have any doubts or queries, please call ZenOnco.io on +91 99 30 70 90 00.