September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. men, and one of the leading cancer killers among men, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
There are no early warning signs of prostate cancer, which can make it a potentially silent killer. In rare cases, prostate cancer can cause symptoms, so you should see your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night, sometimes urgently
- Difficulty starting or holding back urination
- Weak, dribbling, or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- A decrease in the amount of fluid ejaculated
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Pressure or pain in the rectum
- Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis, or thighs
When Should You Get Screened
According to the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), if you have no family history and are not African American, you should start getting tested at age 50. Those with a family history should start getting screened at age 40. African American men should start at age 45.
Medical experts say the benefits of getting tested include early detection, which could offer you a better chance to cure the disease.
How do you screen for Prostate Cancer?
Two tests that are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer include:
- A blood test called aprostate specific antigen (PSA) test. PSA is a substance your prostate makes. This test measures the level of PSA in your blood. Your PSA level may be high if you have prostate cancer and for many other reasons, such as having an enlarged prostate, a prostate infection, or taking certain medicines.
- Digital rectal examination, when a health care provider inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into a man’s rectum to feel the prostate for anything abnormal, such as cancer.
How Do You Treat Prostate Cancer?
Your doctor can discuss the best treatment option for you. Fortunately, there are many effective ways to address prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, here are the current treatment options:
- Observation or Active Surveillance
- Radiation Therapy
- Hormone Therapy
- Targeted Therapy
HealthTronics partners with hundreds of urologists across the country with their innovative cryotherapy systems called Cryocare. Instead of being treated with strong medications or having to undergo multiple rounds of radiation, cryotherapy uses small ice crystals to kill the cancer cells.
Cryotherapy is not major surgery. Many patients that are too weak or ill to have a prostatectomy (prostate removal) and don’t want radiation therapy can still consider cryotherapy. If your cancer is localized to the prostate, you may be a good candidate for cryotherapy. Ask your urologist if cryotherapy is right for your cancer treatment.