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Oct. 3 - Doctor’s Corner: Memorial Satilla Health’s Dr. Asit Jha discusses Prostate Cancer Awareness

Category: Editorial & Opinion

By Dr. Asit Jha, Memorial Hospital

October 3, 2017 - As we prepare to enter October and Breast Cancer Awareness, it is important to take the time to recognize another cancer that greatly affects many American men – Prostate Cancer.  

Many men, roughly one in six, will be diagnosed with this form of cancer in their lifetime, which is why it is important for men who meet certain criteria to speak with their doctors to determine if they should be screened for the disease.  

  • Prostate cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer diagnosis and death in United States men.  Approximately 161,000 new prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2017. Approximately 26,700 prostate cancer deaths are expected in 2017.
  • For the average American male, lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer is 16%.  However, risk of dying of prostate cancer is only 2.9%.  In other words, 1 in 6 American males will develop prostate cancer.  However, only 1 in 33 male would die of prostate cancer.  Prostate cancer often grows very slowly and most men die of other causes before the disease becomes clinically advanced, but the risk is not worth your life, considering how easy it is to get tested.
  • A diet high in animal fat or low vegetables may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer.  Dietary supplements have not proven to reduce risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Prostate cancer screening involves testing for prostate cancer in men who have no symptoms of the disease.  This testing can find cancer at an early stage.  Prostate cancer screening involve blood tests that measures prostate specific antigen (PSA), and a brief, 30 second physical exam.  
  • The most common cause for an elevated PSA is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate.  Other causes include prostate infection, trauma, and sexual activity.
  • Some men are at high risk of prostate cancer.  This include African American men, men with family history of prostate cancer, particularly in relatives younger than age 65, and men who have known or likely to have genetic mutation (BRCA1, BRCA2).  PSA should be checked beginning at age 40-45 in this high risk group of men, if decision for screening is made.
  • Everyone else, regardless of demographics or family history, should be consider and discuss screening with their doctor beginning at age 50.  And just one screening isn’t enough.  Screening should continue every 2-4 years until age 70 or earlier when life expectancy is less than 10 years.

Like most cancers, the best way to beat prostate cancer is early detection, so please speak with your doctor to determine if you should receive the screening.  While we don’t yet have a cure for cancer, by being proactive, we can help reduce the risk that this disease has on your life.

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