Prostate cancer awareness is not only recognized in September, but now, November, also known as Movember, thanks to a men’s health foundation raising awareness and funds not only for prostate cancer, but also testicular cancer and other important men’s health issues.
To help highlight important information particularly on prostate cancer, here are commonly asked questions and talked about debunked myths that shed some light on the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States.
Fact #1: Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40. Risks rise after age 50 and about 60 percent of cases occur in men over 65.
Fact #2: Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races. White men are at greater risk than Asian-American and Hispanic men.
Fact #3: Prostate cancer seems to run in families. Having a brother or father with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing the disease.
Fact #4: Men with diets high in red meat and low in fruits and vegetables have a higher risk of prostate cancer.
Fact #5: Urination issues, painful ejaculation, and constant pain in the back, hips, or pelvis are symptoms of prostate cancer.
Fact #6: Instead of immediate treatment for early stage or slow growing prostate cancer, doctors may recommend active surveillance. Your doctor will check you regularly and perform tests to monitor your prostate cancer.
Fact #7: About 90 percent of prostate surgeries are done robotically, resulting in less blood loss, fewer complications, shorter hospitalizations, and quicker returns to bladder control and sexual function.
Fact #8: PSA tests measure levels of prostate-specific antigen in the prostate, not cancer. Some data suggests that the PSA test saves the life of approximately 1 in 11 men who are tested.
Fact #9: The higher the PSA level in the blood, the more likely a prostate problem is present. Factors, such as age and race, can affect PSA levels. Some prostate glands make more PSA than others.
Fact #10: After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, affecting 1 in 7 men.
Fact #11: About 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year.
Fact #12: About 6 prostate cancer cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older.
Fact #13: Certain chemicals form when meat, including beef, pork, fish, or poultry, is cooked using high-temperature methods, like grilling over an open flame. In studies, these chemicals have been found to increase the risk of cancer.
Fact #14: A diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in fat and sugar have a higher risk of prostate cancer.
Fact #15: In 2011, African-American men had the highest prevalence rates of prostate cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fact #16: Research has shown that Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes and tomato based foods, may help protect against the development of prostate cancer
Fact #17: Vitamin E supplements have a slightly higher risk of prostate cancer, but before starting vitamins or other supplements, talk with your doctor.
Fact #18: There is no link between alcohol and prostate cancer risk, but consumption in moderation is highly recommended, as alcohol can increase risk for other types of cancers.
Fact #19: Since regular screening for prostate cancer began in the early 1990’s, the death rate has fallen by more than 30 percent.
Fact #20: If I have prostate cancer surgery I will wear diapers and never be able to get an erection again. FALSE. Most men regain complete bladder control and actually empty their bladder better after recovery. If men had good erections before prostate cancer surgery about 80 to 90 percent will regain their erections over time.
Fact #21: PSA screening is a useless test. FALSE. PSA is the most valuable screening test for prostate cancer than any other test.
Fact #22: Not all men experience symptoms with prostate cancer, and symptoms can be mistaken or attributed to something else. Signs of prostate cancer are often first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up.
Fact #23: Digital rectal exams are less effective than PSA blood test in finding prostate cancer, but it can sometimes find cancers in men with normal PSA levels. It may be included as a part of prostate cancer screening.
Fact #24: Prostate cancer survival rates are increasing, and awareness, screening and improved treatments are some of the reasons why. If found early, there is a good chance for successful treatment.
Fact #25: Fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which has been linked to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. If you don’t currently eat fish, you might consider adding it to your diet. Adding flaxseed to your diet also helps.
Fact #26: Men who are obese, with a body mass index of 30 or higher, may have an increased risk of prostate cancer. If you are overweight or obese, work on losing weight.
Fact #27: In older men, prostate cancer is more common, but younger men in their 40’s and even 30’s can develop the disease. Screening is recommended for men at age 40 who are at higher risk for the disease.
Fact #28: Pomegranate juice and mushrooms have shown signs of lessening prostate cancer risk or growth, however it is recommended to consume everything in moderation. Check with your doctor to see if these foods will complement conventional treatments.
Fact #29: Men who have had vasectomies are at higher risk for prostate cancer. FALSE. Research has disproved this finding.
Fact #30: With prostate cancer, there isn’t one treatment that fits all men. Treatments need to be tailored to each individual and circumstance. Work from a foundation of knowledge, so you and your physician can select the best treatment plan.
Learn more about our urologic oncology program and services at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center. To make an appointment, please call (310) 582-7137.