Prostate Cancer Awareness
September is all about prostate cancer prevention and awareness. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men and affects 1 in 7 men. Many men live with the slow-growing version of this cancer that may go many years undetected. It is very important to understand the risks and undergo screening regularly to make sure that any cancer is detected and treated early.
The prostate is a walnut-sized organ that is located in front of the rectum, just below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen through the penis. The prostate cells are stimulated to grow by testosterone and can result in enlargement (called prostate hyperplasia). This is usually benign, but may cause problems urinating. Prostate cancer, however, is a change to cells that render them non-functional. These non-functioning cells can cause pain, bleeding, frequent urination, difficulty urinating and can move to other parts of the body (metastasis). Due to the location of the prostate, it is not always obvious if there are changes, which is why it is important to get it checked.
Men are at much higher risk if they are older than 50, overweight, have a family history of prostate cancer, or are black. If you or a loved one has these risk factors, as your doctor for the PSA test (a simple blood test), and a digital rectal exam. These tests are fast and effective at screening for prostate cancer. Happily, prostate cancer deaths are decreasing because of awareness and screening with these tests as a standard of care. Since 2001, the death rate has decreased 3.3 per cent per year since 2001, according to Prostate Cancer Canada.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, TrueNTH is a foundation that is about making positive changes in the lives of those affected by prostate cancer, including informing research, treatment options, quality of life, and confidence in managing the disease. For more information, see https://truenth.ca/ and http://www.prostatecancer.ca/
By Hailie Rondeau, RN
ARTACares is provided by HumanaCare, an Alberta-based health and wellness provider with more than thirty-five years of Canadian health care experience.