Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Brings Attention to Men’s Health
September is national Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, so now is a good time to highlight this important factor in men’s health.
If you’re an older man and prostate cancer isn’t on your healthcare radar, it should be! Prostate cancer can be easily diagnosed and treated, however, early diagnosis is crucial.
“One out of every nine American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, usually in their 60s or older,” said Dr. Seyed M. Khoddami, a urologist and specialist in men’s health issues. “Prostate cancer screening is available and is part of men’s wellness evaluations.”
Dr. Khoddami advises men to talk to their doctor or healthcare provider about prostate cancer screening and find out if they should be tested. “Prostate cancer can often be found early by testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in a man’s blood, combined with a physical examination,” he said. “If the results of either test are abnormal, men should talk to their doctor about further testing and what type of testing might be best.”
The American Cancer Society reports that some prostate cancers can grow and spread quickly, but most grow slowly. If prostate cancer is suspected, a biopsy and an ultrasound of the prostate will be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
How Common Is Prostate Cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among American men. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, after lung cancer.
The American Cancer Society also estimates that this year in the United States, there will be about 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer and about 29,430 deaths from it. Despite how common prostate cancer is among men, medical experts say many men seem unaware of the dangers, and the lack of immediate symptoms creates a false sense of security.
About six in 10 cases are diagnosed in men who are 65 and older (it’s rare in men under 40). The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66. While it is rare for prostate cancer to occur in men between the ages of 40 and 65, as prostate cancer screening has become more available, more cases are being diagnosed in younger men. Other risk factors include race and family history.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
- Problems urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to go more often
- Elevation in Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)
- Abnormal physical examination of the prostate
“When treated early, prostate cancer is highly survivable,” said Dr. Khoddami. Many factors influence survival rates for prostate cancer, including the extent of the cancer, overall health of the individual, and age. According to the most recent data from the American Cancer Society, when including all stages of prostate cancer, the five-year relative survival rate is 99 percent, the 10-year relative survival rate is 98 percent, and the 15-year relative survival rate is 96 percent. The good news is that early diagnosis and treatment leads to high cure rates for prostate cancer.
Here Are 5 Things Older Men Should Do NOW:
- Learn the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer. Re-read the list above if needed!
- Talk to your doctor about getting a PSA blood test for prostate cancer and any other diagnostic tools that might be right for you.
- Have a detailed discussion with your doctor about treatment if you get a positive diagnosis for cancer. Here are some thing to ask your doctor: Is “waiting and watching” a treatment option? Why or why not? What about a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate gland) or radiation therapy? What other treatment(s) are appropriate, or not? What about risks and side effects of the various treatment options? How fast do I have to decide about treatment? What are the chances the cancer will return? You can also sign up to receive a free patient guide from the Prostate Cancer Foundation. This resource includes information about contemporary prostate cancer research, treatment, and lifestyle factors.
- If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer or are undergoing treatment for it, seek help from a counselor, support group, faith leader or friends and family if you experience depression or anxiety, or need help coping with side effects. There are plenty of others willing and able to lend emotional support! The Community Memorial Health System Cancer Resource Center offers support groups, assistance from a nurse navigator who can offer guidance and support during the various stages of diagnosis and treatment, and other free programs and services for cancer patients, survivors, and their families. The Cancer Resource Center features comfortable furniture, a full kitchen and a resource library. It is staffed by a dedicated group of caring and trained professionals who can assist patients and their families with resources and guidance in a comfortable environment. CLICK HERE for more information.
- Don’t miss the free CMHS Men’s Symposium on Saturday September 15th. The Symposium begins at 8am and will cover a wide range of healthcare topics for men including men’s heart health, urinary health issues, and hip and knee replacements. Dr. Khoddami is one of the speakers, discussing the effects of urinary health on men’s quality of life and also participating in a Q & A panel discussion. The Symposium takes place at the Ventura County Office of Education Conference and Educational Services Center, 5100 Adolfo Road in Camarillo. CLICK HERE to register for this free event!
Dr. Seyed M. Khoddami is a clinical Assistant Professor of Urology at USC and a member of the CMHS Medical Staff. He specializes in urology and men’s health issues, is trained in Laparoscopy and has a special interest in Robotics. Dr. Khoddami practices at San Buenaventura Urology Center in Ventura. San Buenaventura Urology Center is located at 2705 Loma Vista Road, Suite 206, Ventura, CA 93003. For more information or to make an appointment, call 805-643-4067.