As it is the natural degeneration of the prostate gland, there is no proven prostate cancer prevention strategy, however, it is generally recommended that men with an average risk make choices that benefit their overall health such as regular exercise and adopting sensible and healthy eating habits.
The medical community has no definitive agreement regarding the benefits of prostate cancer screening, though it is thought that regular screening can lead to finding and treating prostate cancer early, which results in more treatment options with potentially fewer side effects.
Digital rectal exam: During a DRE, the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to examine the prostate. Abnormalities in the texture, shape or size of the prostate gland, may lead the doctor to order additional testing.
Prostate-specific antigen test: A blood test that analyzes for PSA, a substance that’s naturally produced by the prostate gland. Small amounts of PSA are normally found in a man’s bloodstream, however, higher than normal levels may indicate prostate infection, inflammation, enlargement or cancer.
“PSA testing has pushed the diagnosis of prostate cancer back a good five to 10 years,” says Cohen. “We are seeing men much earlier and know where they stand regarding prostate health. If caught early, prostate cancer is treatable and can give the patient a better quality of life once diagnosed.”
It is recommended that African-American men should begin to have prostate screenings annually after age 40. The screening frequency can decrease after about age 70.
There are many treatment options when it comes to prostate cancer:
Active Surveillance: This conservative option includes carefully monitoring the cancer for any progression. Active surveillance, or watchful waiting, is a viable option for men who decide not to undergo immediate surgery or radiation therapy.
Prostatectomy: This option involves the removal of all or part of the prostate.
Radiation Therapy: Radiation involves the killing of cancer cells and surrounding tissues with directed radioactive exposure.
Hormone Therapy: This option stops the body from producing testosterone, the fuel that cancer cells thrive on. By cutting off the source of fuel, the cancer cells may die or retard their growth.
Chemotherapy: The use of chemicals to kill or halt the growth of cancer cells.
The most important thing in dealing with prostate or any other health care matter is having an open and honest dialogue with your health care provider. Be sure to discuss your symptoms and follow-up with all testing and appointments. Doing so just could save your life.
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