Are you at Risk of Prostate Cancer?
Knowing your risk for prostate cancer can help prevent the condition and treat it early. Common risk factors for prostate cancer include:
Prostate cancer rarely occurs in men below 40. The risk of this cancer increases with age, with six in every ten cases reported in men over 65.
- Family history
Like several other cancers, prostate cancer runs in families. A first-degree relative with prostate cancer increases an individual’s risk of developing the condition.
Prostate cancer is more common in men of African-American origin or African ancestry. This cancer occurs less commonly in Asian-Americans and men of Hispanic ancestry.
Due to the distribution of different races and ethnicities and for reasons unknown, prostate cancer is more common among men living in North America, North-western Europe, Australia and the Caribbean than in the rest of the world.
- Genetic changes
Inherited genetic mutations (abnormal changes) increase the risk of prostate cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are associated with increased breast and ovarian cancer risk in women and increased prostate cancer risk in men. Men with Lynch syndrome have a heightened risk for different types of cancer, including that of the prostate.
Research is still underway about how the following factors increase an individual’s risk for prostate cancer:
- Consuming a diet high in dairy products
- Consumption of excess calcium through food or supplements
- Being obese or overweight
- Exposure to chemicals on the job, as seen with firefighters
- Inflammation of the prostate
- Sexually transmitted infection
- Undergoing vasectomy
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Prostate cancer is slow-growing and rarely causes symptoms in the initial stages. Common symptoms of this cancer may include:
- Difficulty in urination
- Weak flow of urine
- Increased frequency of urination
- Inability to empty the bladder
- Pain or burning during urination
- Blood in urine or semen
- Painful ejaculation
- Persistent pain in the back, pelvis or hips
Though these symptoms are not unique to prostate cancer, it is best to consult your doctor if you experience them.
Can Prostate Cancer Risks be Reduced?
Though there is no way to prevent prostate cancer with surety, making a few lifestyle changes can help reduce risk factors for the disease. These include:
- Maintain a healthy weight and BMI
- Work out regularly and stay physically active
- Though researchers don’t understand the relationship between diet and prostate cancer risk, reducing fat intake, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoiding charred meat are advisable
- Quit smoking
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Increase vitamin D intake
Prostate cancer risk factors like genes, family history, and race cannot be modified.
Why Should You Get Tested?
Older men must undergo regular prostate cancer screening to detect pre-cancer or cancer of the gland early. Screening for prostate cancer helps detect cancer in its early stages before it spreads to other parts of the body. It also helps lower morbidity and the chances of mortality due to cancer.
According to the CDC, one life is saved for every 1000 men screened for prostate cancer, and three men can be prevented from developing this condition. Since most men do not experience symptoms of prostate cancer in the early stages, screening helps catch the disease early and treat it completely.
How to Get Tested?
There is no standard test for prostate cancer, and the two following tests are used for screening:
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)
This blood test measures the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. PSA is made by the prostate cells, and its levels are higher in men with prostate cancer. Though
factors like age and race can affect PSA levels, a higher level of this substance in the blood indicates prostate cancer.
- Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
This is a physical examination performed by the doctor during which they insert a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for any lumps or growths.
Get Tested Today!
Men over 55 must undergo regular screening tests for prostate cancer based on their doctor’s recommendation. When detected early, prostate cancers can be completely cured with surgery and other treatment options. Get tested today!