October 08, 2021
If you’re looking for answers on a particular medical condition, the internet offers an endless amount of information to sort through. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Oftentimes, myths persist and you’re not sure what to believe. That’s why, when it comes to topics such as prostate cancer, you want to make sure you’re getting just the facts. Let’s take a look at some topline statistics before dispelling some of the common myths about prostate cancer.
Fact: Although the risk of prostate cancer increases with age, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 35 percent of those diagnosed with prostate cancer (more than 57,000 each year) are under age 65. In addition, race/ethnicity are also a factor. Black men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at a younger age (and at a more advanced stage).
Fact: Prostate cancer is one of the most asymptomatic cancers. People in the early stages of prostate cancer rarely have symptoms. Or if they do display symptoms, they can be mistaken for something else. These symptoms may include:
• Frequent, difficult, or painful urination
• Weak or interrupted flow of urination
• Pain in the lower back or pelvis/groin area
• Trouble having an erection
• Painful ejaculation
• Unexplained loss of weight or appetite
• Blood in the urine or semen
• Bone pain
Because prostate cancer is often asymptomatic, routine check-ups are crucial for early detection.
Fact: Family history does play a part in prostate cancer risk. Those who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, son) who was diagnosed with prostate cancer have an increased risk of the disease. There also seems to be a connection with other types of cancer. So if other members of your family have been diagnosed with breast, ovarian, or pancreatic cancer, you may be at an increased risk of prostate cancer. That said, it’s important to note that most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer have no family history of the disease.
Fact: Treatment options vary depending on the cancer stage at diagnosis. For example, doctors may recommend “active surveillance” or “watchful waiting” for those who are asymptomatic and have an early-stage, slow-growing form of prostate cancer. What do these approaches entail?
• Watchful waiting means only treating the person if they develop symptoms.
• Active surveillance usually involves monitoring the cancer closely, sometimes through frequent prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests, digital rectal exams, prostate biopsies, and imaging tests. Doctors also closely monitor symptoms.
These approaches are highly individualistic and depend on the disease stage, age at diagnosis, risk tolerance, and consideration of quality of life. If you have any questions about prostate cancer, or possible treatment, talk to your doctor.
For more information on prostate cancer, check out these resources:
This article was originally published on IBX Insights.
I’m a writer and bookworm who loves learning and writing about the latest health and wellness topics. Like a true Gemini, I’m a walking dichotomy. I like kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, but I also like ice cream, fried chicken, and cheese. So, I’m always fighting the good fight. As the mom of two little girls, I strive to model healthy habits that my daughters will carry with them for life.