What disease will affect one in five men during their lifetime? Prostate cancer, the second most common cancer among men. Although there’s no way to completely prevent prostate cancer, men can take steps to reduce their risk, and to catch the disease early if it does develop. The first step is education; knowing the facts can help you make the best decisions about lifestyle choices, screening options, and, if necessary, treatment plans.
What causes prostate cancer?
Scientists have yet to determine exactly what triggers prostate cancer. However, over time, cells may begin to grow too rapidly or abnormally. These cells can develop into a cancerous tumor. Prostate cancer can develop in any of the three areas of the prostate.
The doctor mentioned PSA. What exactly is that?
PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. The cells of the prostate naturally produce low levels of PSA, which can be detected in the blood. However, medical conditions of the prostate such as cancer, prostatitis, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) cause elevated levels of PSA in the blood. That makes PSA a biological marker that doctors can use to detect an abnormality in the prostate.
How is prostate cancer detected?
Your doctor may recommend a PSA test, which requires a small blood sample. He may also do a manual exam, where he can feel whether the prostate is enlarged. If either of these exams have questionable results, the doctor will order further screening to determine what has caused the PSA elevation and/or enlarged prostate.
What factors increase my risk for prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men, so being over 55 raises a man’s risk for the disease. A family history of prostate cancer, especially diagnosed at a young age or in an immediate family member, may indicate an elevated risk for prostate cancer. Finally, a diet high in fat has been shown to increase the incidence of prostate cancer.
How can I reduce my risk for prostate cancer?
Like most conditions, prostate cancer is more common among people whose lifestyle choices are less healthy. A proper diet (with plenty of fruits and vegetables) along with the right about of exercise, goes a long way to reducing a man’s risk of prostate cancer. Talk to a dietitian or nutritionist about creating a diet plan that will not only reduce your risk for prostate cancer, but also reduce risk for other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
If you have questions about prostate cancer, please contact us at Central Florida Regional Hospital. Visit us online or call Consult-a-Nurse® at 1-800-445-3392. We can help you find out more about cancer care and prevention, answer your health questions, and provide referrals to Orlando physicians and specialists.