September Is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Did you know prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in American men and the second leading cause of death in men?¹ The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 8 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, with about 248,530 new cases and 34,130 deaths in 2021.²
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and at Profound Medical, we are doing our part to educate the public on the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options for prostate cancer and what you can do to help raise awareness. Here are some basic facts about prostate cancer.
What is prostate cancer?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder and surrounding the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the bladder). The prostate is responsible for producing and storing the fluid that makes semen. Prostate cancer is diagnosed when there is a malignant (uncontrolled) growth of cells in the prostate gland.
Some of the risk factors include:
- Family history – Especially in men whose first-degree relatives (father or brother) have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- Age – Prostate cancer is more common in older men, with the average diagnosis age at 66. The condition is rare for men under the age of 40.
- Race – African-American men are at higher risk for prostate cancer.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer in its early stages often has no symptoms, and because of this, frequently goes undetected. The risk of undetected prostate cancer is that it can spread to the bones, tissues, and other surrounding structures. This highlights the importance of prostate screening to catch cancer early on before it spreads and before symptoms arise.
Symptoms may include:
- A slow or weak urine flow
- More frequent urination
- Erectile dysfunction
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Hip, back, or chest pain
Although the above symptoms could occur as a result of prostate cancer, they do not necessarily mean the patient has prostate cancer. These symptoms could arise from other prostate issues that are not cancerous, including an inflamed or enlarged prostate, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), a bacterial infection, or chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
How is prostate cancer treated?
Most prostate cancers are low-risk with slow growth or no growth at all, making survival rates good for this type of cancer. However, some types are aggressive and spread quickly. Depending on the level of risk, the following have been shown to be effective treatments for prostate cancer:
- Watchful waiting
- The TULSA Procedure
- High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
What you can do during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
During the month of September, local and national organizations take part in activities to raise awareness of prostate cancer. Here’s how you can participate:
- Check out Profound Medical’s list of events for walks/runs, conferences, and virtual events dedicated to prostate awareness.
- Visit Men’s Health Network to read about facts and statistics.
- Talk to your partner, family member, or friend about prostate health.
- Stay updated with the American Cancer Society about the latest statistics.
- If you’re a male aged 40 years or older, talk to your doctor about getting screened and your risk factors.