According to the American Cancer Society, other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. Prostate cancer screening is recommended for men over 40, and a simple blood test can detect the presence of prostate cancer before it has spread to other parts of the body.
Prostate cancer that’s detected early — when it’s still confined to the prostate gland— has cure rates above 90%.
Despite the extensive information about prostate cancer that has been gained through medical research, it is one of the least talked about cancers and therefore a number of myths persist:
Myth #1: Prostate Cancer is a disease for men over 65
Yes, the likelihood of getting prostate cancer increases with age. While 65% of the 165,000 cases are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older, the fact remains that 35% of those diagnosed, or more than 57,000 each year, are diagnosed at an earlier age. Furthermore, it is estimated that 1 out of 38 younger men (ages 40-59) will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 1 in 15 by age 69. Your race, family history, physical health and lifestyle—even geographic location—are all factors that can increase your likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Approximately 1 in 9 U.S. men overall will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Myth #2: Prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer I don’t need to worry about
Not all prostate cancer cell lines behave alike, but they have one thing in common: cancer doesn’t stand still. It is important to detect prostate cancer early and gain information about its cell line. Don’t assume it’s slow growing, especially if you have a family history of either breast or prostate cancer. No one should take any cancer for granted.
Myth #3: A high PSA score always means prostate cancer
This is not necessarily true. An inflamed prostate can drive up your numbers, and the score helps your doctor decide if you need more tests to check for prostate cancer. Also, your doctor will monitor your PSA score over time. If it’s on the rise, that could be a sign of a problem. If it goes down after cancer treatment, that’s great. Other conditions, including non-cancerous prostate enlargement, can cause higher PSA, so a biopsy is the only way to know for sure.
Myth #4: Prostate surgery ruins your urinary control and your sex life
In experienced hands and the early stages of prostate cancer, long-term issues with urinary leakage are minimal. In the majority of men with early stage prostate cancer, it’s possible to do nerve-sparing surgery and have normal erections.
Remember that prostate cancer can often be detected early through screening. Rio Bravo Cancer Center offers two methods: a digital rectal exam and a PSA blood test.
Myth #5: There is nothing I can do to prevent prostate cancer
Although some men are at greater risk than others due to family history, ethnicity, exposure to toxins, etc., it is possible to minimize the risk of developing prostate cancer. There is consistent research showing that lifestyle changes do affect genes that regulate tumor growth. A combination of the following actions can greatly reduce the chance of developing prostate cancer, especially aggressive disease:
- Diet – Eat a lot less red meat. Instead, eat chicken, fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts, preferably organic. Reduce sugar and alcohol, quit smoking, reduce caloric intake. Foods that improve your cardiovascular health also benefit your prostate.
- Exercise – Vigorous, sustained exercise 3 times per week has several effects that promote cancer-free health. For instance, your blood vessels will maintain a round shape and healthier lining, making it difficult for circulating tumor cells to stick to the inner walls and work their way through to other organs.
- Supplements – Prevent inflammation, a breeding ground for cancerous mutations. Nature provides a wide variety of anti-inflammatory components like curcumin and alpha-lipoic acid.
- Common aspirin – There is evidence that aspirin may not stop prostate cancer from beginning, but it may protect against getting an aggressive form of the disease.
- Stress management and meditation – Techniques such as yoga, meditation and conscious breathing have powerful physiological effects, including lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and boosting the immune system.
If you are concerned about prostate cancer, schedule a screening at Rio Bravo Cancer today at (661) 471-2663.