According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer.
Who Is at Risk of Prostate Cancer?
One man in six will get prostate cancer during his lifetime, but some men are at a higher risk than others for developing the disease, based on factors such as age, race and family history. Men 65 and older are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and the risk is even higher if you have a father or brother with the disease. African- Americans and Asians living in the United States are also more likely to develop this type of cancer. However, you should still take precaution even if you don’t fall into any of these categories; about one in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime.
Preventing Prostate Cancer
All men can benefit from some simple lifestyle changes to improve their health and reduce their risk of prostate cancer. Here are some prevention tips:
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer, and you should make it a goal to get down to a healthy weight recommended by your doctor. You can do this by reducing the number of calories you eat and exercising more; speak with a nutritionist and your doctor to discuss the best meal plan and fitness routine for you. If you’re already at a good weight, maintain it with exercise and a balanced diet.
Stick to Healthy Diet
A diet that is low in fat and full of fruits and veggies may reduce your risk of prostate cancer, as well as other cancers and medical issues. A low-fat diet should include lean meats, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and fish high in Omega-3, such as salmon and tuna. Limit your calcium intake as well by swapping butter with olive oil and adding nuts or seeds to salads instead of cheese. Avoid foods that are high in trans fats, which includes margarine and fast food.
Physical fitness not only helps you get to or stay at your goal weight, but it may also reduce your risk of prostate cancer. Exercise can also improve your overall health, as it lowers your risk of heart disease and other types of cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise 3-4 days a week.
Stress, which has been known to trigger high blood pressure and depression, can be managed with meditation practices or if needed, medication. Anxiety and stress can negatively impact you physically, and it’s important to treat it for a healthier life.
Get Annual PSA Exams
Frequent cancer screenings are the best way to monitor the potential development of cancer in your body. The early it’s detected, the sooner you can start treatment, which only increases your chances of entering remission.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
While many men with prostate cancer present no symptoms, these are the most common symptoms to be aware of:
- A need to urinate often, especially at night
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
- Trouble starting to urinate
- Trouble emptying the bladder
- Being unable to urinate
- Accidental urination
- Painful or burning when you urinate
- Blood in your urine or semen
- Pain or stiffness in your lower back, hips, ribs, or upper thighs
- Loss of ability to have an erection
- Weakness or numbness in legs or feet
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
Early diagnosis is the key to the successful treatment of prostate cancer. Many men with prostate cancer experience no symptoms. The first indication is often an abnormal finding on a routine screening exam.
To detect and diagnose prostate cancer, Crozer Health specialists may use a range of tests that examine the prostate and blood. These tests include a digital rectal exam, a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and transrectal ultrasound guided prostate biopsy. The American Cancer Society recommends that men who are over 50 years old are candidates for regular prostate screening (or as young as 40 years old if they are African American or have a family history of prostate cancer).
What is a PSA Test?
In healthy males, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is released in low amounts into the blood from the prostate gland. As they get older and the prostate enlarges, the amount of PSA slowly continues to increase. However, rises in PSA levels can indicate a variety of other issues, and a few different tests become necessary to determine whether the increase is a result of something else, such as inflammation of the prostate gland or prostate cancer.
A PSA test is a simple blood test that shows levels of the antigen in a male’s bloodstream.
Treating Prostate Cancer
Crozer Health offers advanced treatment options for prostate cancer patients. Our physicians and specialists work together to develop the best possible treatment plan for each patient. Treatments may include:
- Brachytherapy: During brachytherapy, sealed radioactive sources are temporarily or permanently implanted into the patient to deliver radiation directly to the tumor. Crozer-Chester Medical Center is a regional leader in the use of high-dose-rate brachytherapy, also known as “seed implants,” to care for prostate cancer patients.
- CyberKnife radiosurgery: Philadelphia CyberKnife in Havertown is a department of Delaware County Memorial Hospital, and Crozer Health radiation oncologists are the leading providers at the center.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): Crozer Health radiation oncologists have treated hundreds of patients with this highly specialized and focused external beam therapy offered at both Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Delaware County Memorial Hospital.
- Surgery: Our surgical oncologists share a commitment to provide the highest quality of care and are experienced in the latest and least invasive surgical techniques for treating cancer. For qualified candidates, prostatectomies can be performed using da Vinci Robotic Surgery.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is sometimes used if prostate cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland when hormone therapy isn't working.
Crozer Health cancer patients can expect treatment for both body and mind. We treat your medical condition, but we also understand your needs for emotional balance, physical comfort and quality of life. We offer a range of programs to help you through your recovery process.