13 Feb Baby Boomer Men and Prostate Cancer: Why an Ouch! Now Will Save You Later
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer found among American men. Eight out of ten men with prostate cancer are over 50 (that includes all Boomers), and prostate cancer results in the most deaths second only to lung cancer. These rates are decreasing; however, with the help of advanced testing and early detection.
Prostate cancer occurs when the cells in the prostate gland mutate rather than grow, divide and die normally. These mutated cells then group together to form a tumor, and those cells eventually spread to other parts of the body causing more tumors. The prostate gland, found only in men, is located under the bladder and in front of the rectum. The tube that carries urine also runs through the prostate gland. The prostate is responsible for producing those cells that cultivate semen. It is about the size of a walnut and develops from birth until adulthood.
According to the American Cancer Society, it is believed that the cells of the prostate glands experience very small changes in shape and size and that this occurs in all men by the time they reach the age of 50. These cells look normal under the microscope, but if there are a large number of them (this can be determined from a prostate biopsy), then your doctor will put you on alert to see if the cells spread and become cancer.
The cause of cancer is still not yet found, but doctors believe that there are certain factors that put you at risk for it. These include:
• Age: a man over the age of 50 is more likely to develop prostate cancer than a younger man.
• Race: prostate cancer occurs more in African American men than in any other race. The reason for this is unknown.
• Nationality: North America and northwestern Europe report the most incidents of prostate cancer than anywhere else in the world.
• Family History: if your father or brother had prostate cancer then you are at a higher risk of developing it yourself.
Though cancer itself doesn’t have a vaccine, there are certain foods one can eat to ensure healthy cells. Pink grapefruit, watermelon and tomatoes are said to be rich in lycophene, a substance that helps to prevent harm to the DNA thus lowering the risk of prostate cancer.
The American Cancer Society does not presently recommend routine testing for prostate cancer. However, they do suggest that you have a discussion with your doctor about the risk factors that are relevant to you. If you are over the age of 50, then a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) should be performed yearly. The Prostate-Specific Antigen Test (PSA) is simply a test to see if there are abnormally high levels of the antigen in your blood which indicates cancer. A third option is the Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS) where a probe is inserted into the rectum to duplicate images of the prostate onto a computer screen.
Both the TRUS and the DRE may sound quite painful, however they actually aren’t. In fact, a tattoo is more painful. What you feel is actually a lot of pressure in the area but no actual pain. Avoiding the discomfort may cause you more pain in the end. Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include:
2. Blood in the urine
3. Pain in the spine, ribs, hips or elsewhere
4. Loss of bladder control
5. Weakness or numbness in the legs and/or feet
Early detection will prevent the cancer from spreading and may even spare your life. So grin and bear it- you’ll be happy you did it later on.
Have you had any experience with prostate or any other kind of cancer? Do you have any advice or tips for others? Share with us at BoomerYearbook.com.
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