If you're like many men, you may put off getting screened for prostate cancer, but avoidance is not the answer. At St. Anthony's the team can help to answer all your questions and create a plan for you to monitor and maintain your health.
Risks and Symptoms: Get Educated
Your top priority should be gathering all the information that you can. The more you know, they better prepared you'll be to make decisions.
After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer men are diagnosed with. Although nearly 1 in 6 men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetimes, most often it affects men over the age of 60, although it can develop in men in their 30s - so it is important for all men to know the signs and symptoms. This type of cancer grows in the tissues of the prostate, which is the male sex gland that produces semen. It is located in front of the rectum and below the bladder. If caught early, prostate cancer is one of the most treatable kinds of cancer.
For prostate cancer, there are a number of risk factors to watch out for. Among them are these:
- Family history: If a close relative-such as a brother or father-has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your risk is doubled.
- Race: Some studies indicate that African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than Hispanic or Caucasian men are.
- Diet: According to some reports, a diet rich in saturated fats can lead to increased risk.
- Testosterone: Men are more likely to develop prostate cancer after using testosterone therapy. Increased levels of testosterone seem to increase the risk.
While there is no certain way to prevent prostate cancer, there are some precautions you can take that will help you stay healthy:
- Eat right: Try to avoid a diet high in fat, and instead choose fresh fruits and vegetables. Lycopene, which is found in both raw and cooked tomatoes, has been linked to prostate cancer prevention. Although some studies have suggested a connection between certain supplements and prostate health, most medical professionals suggest that relying on diet for vitamins and minerals is the best approach.
- Watch your weight: Obesity has been linked to many forms of cancer, so keep you weight in line with medical guidelines.
- Be active: The American Cancer Society suggests that everyone participate in 45 to 60 minutes of physical activity at least five times a week. Inactive lifestyles have been linked to cancer and other illnesses.
- Get tested: Talk to your doctor about tests that can screen you for prostate cancer, and be sure to follow the schedule that your doctor suggests.
Although there are often no symptoms in the early stages of prostate cancer, there are certain signs to watch out for. They include:
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in semen
- Chronic bone pain
- Swollen legs or pelvic area
- Numbness in legs, hips or feet
- Erectile dysfunction
- Painful ejaculation
If you experience any of these symptoms, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor about testing.
For more information on prostate cancer care and screenings at The Cancer Center at St. Anthony’s Hospital, please call (727) 825-1253.
St. Anthony's Cancer Center
1201 5th Ave. N., Suite 130
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Phone: (727) 825-1253
Fax: (727) 825-1332