Chances are you know a man who refuses to see a doctor. Most men don’t make an appointment until they’re sick, often skipping preventive care. But the consequences of ignoring their health could be very harmful.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, affecting one out of every six men, and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men, according to the American Cancer Society. Prostate cancer is increasingly common as men age and is more often found in younger African Americans and in men with family history of prostate cancer. As a result, prostate cancer screening is especially important for men who have urinary symptoms, who are African American, or who have a family member with prostate cancer.
When it comes to screening, just one blood draw takes care of many of your important screenings, including, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measurement which is a very sensitive screening tool to detect prostate cancer. Blood sugar and cholesterol can be checked with the same single tube of blood at the same time, too. A rectal exam at your checkup may also help identify prostate abnormalities.
Every case of prostate cancer is different and treatment recommendations will vary depending upon patients’ age and health, stage of their disease, success rates and side effects of each treatment, and patient preferences. Seeing both a radiation oncologist and urologist will best ensure that all treatment options are comprehensively discussed by experts in their fields. Because prostate cancer is generally slow growing it is very important that patients take as much time as needed to see all both specialists and to learn as much as possible about all options so that they can make the decision best for them and their loved ones.
The good news is that early detection and more effective treatments with radiation therapy or surgery have resulted in more cures and fewer side-effects. Early detection with PSA testing more frequently discovers cancers early when they are very small and slow growing, for whom active-surveillance without treatment is frequently recommended. For those who require treatment, new sophisticated precision radiation treatments offer patients the ability to be cured with minimal or no effects on urination with some of the highest chances of preserving sexual function. Other options including robotic prostatectomy, freezing with cryosurgery, and heating with focal ultrasound treatments also will be discussed by our team of experts.