September is Prostate Health MonthOctober 1, 2009
Real men wear gowns…and learn how to prevent and control prostate issues. Whether it’s time for a simple blood test or that test, you’re not just doing it for yourself. You’re doing it for your family and loved ones. The single most important way to take care of yourself and those you love is to actively take part in your health care.
Did you know?
- prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men
- other issues, such as Prostatitis and BPH, and enlarged prostate, can also affect a man’s overall well-being.
What you can do:
- make an appointment with your physician to discuss a prostate screening now.
- commit to getting regular recommended exams.
On September 29th, Saint Mary’s hosted a chili dinner (for men only!) with Dr. Don Hill, Internist for Millard-Henry Clinic. In recognition of Prostate Health Month, Dr. Hill’s seminar focused on health issues specific to men such as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis and prostate cancer.
It’s a Man thing:
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, men may be catching up to women in lifespan. But while the life-expectancy gap between men and women has shrunk to 5.2 years, the narrowest since 1946, men still need to pay more attention to their health.
Compared to women, men are more likely to:
Smoke and drink, and generally lead less healthy lifestyles.
Put off routine checkups and even ignore symptoms of a health problem.
Join in fearless, risky and dangerous behaviors.
The good news is that many of the diseases and health conditions that men face can be prevented or successfully treated if they are found early. Just like automobiles, men’s bodies need regular check-ups and maintenance to avoid serious breakdowns in the future.
The prostate, a walnut-sized gland located just below the bladder in men, is important to bladder control and normal sexual functioning – important issues to most men.
Common prostate disorders:
BPH, or enlargement of the prostate gland, is a common and manageable problem which will affect approximately 50 percent of men between the ages of 51 and 60 years. Up to 90 percent of men older than 80 years will be affected. In the United States, an estimated 14 million men have this condition.
Some common urinary tract symptoms of BPH include a weak or slow urinary stream, a feeling that the bladder is not empty and urinary frequency both day and night. “Symptoms of BPH typically develop slowly,” said Dr. Hill, “but may appear rapidly in some cases, such as when a patient is taking antihistamines.”
An appointment with your doctor is important if any of these typical symptoms persist. When properly treated, BPH symptoms can subside. According to Hill, treatment is usually medical early on, but may require surgery in advanced stages. Appropriate treatment can significantly improve the quality of life for men who have BPH.
Prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate gland, is another common condition in men, and may account for up to 25 percent of all office visits by young and middle-aged men for complaints involving genital and urinary symptoms. It is often caused by infection and may develop rapidly (acute), or slowly (chronic).
One of the most serious health risks men face today is prostate cancer – the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer death in men. (Lung cancer is the first.)
The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for prostate cancer in the United States are for 2009:
192,280 new cases
One man in six will get prostate cancer in his lifetime.
One man in 35 will die of this disease.
The good news is that more than 2 million men in the US who have had prostate cancer at some point are still alive today. The death rate for prostate cancer is going down, and the disease is being found earlier, too.
Part of the reason for today’s significant decrease in the death rate from prostate cancer is that more men than ever have gotten serious about regular screenings.
In its early stages, prostate cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, symptoms may develop that are the same as for prostatitis and/or BPH. Additional symptoms include:
Chronic pain in the hips, thighs or lower back.
Blood in the urine or semen.
The lack of early symptoms and the overlap of symptoms with non-cancerous conditions make prostate cancer difficult to diagnose. That is why it is essential to get screened regularly. At this time, routine prostate cancer screening recommendations vary, so it is important to discuss with your doctor what is right for you.
Health issues can be stressful, no matter when they occur. Frequently, the anxiety they cause can affect those around us, especially our closest family members. One of the best treatments for health-related stress is to have the facts about your condition, and to act out of knowledge. The more you and your loved ones understand about a physical condition or illness, the better you’ll be able to take the right steps to manage it.