Red Bluff, California
Red Bluff Family Doctors

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate cancer screening. It sounds about as fun as grouting the tub — and about as easy to put off. Many men do put it off and that’s why healthcare organizations around the country have gotten creative this month, offering free prostate exams at fun events such as baseball games and beer festivals.

Levity aside, prostate screening exists for a good reason. American Cancer Society statistics show prostate cancer as the most common non-skin cancer in American men, and the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. It mainly occurs in older men over 50, though family history and race may also increase a man’s risk.

An article written by the American Cancer Society describes the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer:

Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. But more advanced prostate cancers can sometimes cause symptoms, such as:

  • Problems urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night.
  • Blood in the urine
  • Trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction)
  • Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer spread to bones
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord.

Other conditions can also cause many of these same symptoms. For example, trouble urinating is much more often caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) than cancer. Still, it’s important to tell your doctor if you have any of these problems so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

Red Bluff Prostate Cancer Screening

Early detection is the key to surviving prostate cancer.

Early detection is the key to surviving prostate cancer. While 1 man in 7 is likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, only 1 in 38 will actually die from it. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) common screening tests for prostate cancer may include:

  • Digital rectal exam (DRE): A doctor, physician assistant or nurse practioner inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to estimate the size of the prostate and feel for lumps or other abnormalities.
  • Prostate specific antigen (PSA) test: Measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.

The American Cancer Society recommends that men discuss risks and screening with their doctor at:

  • Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
  • Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).

After this discussion, those men who want to be screened should be tested with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The digital rectal exam (DRE) may also be done as a part of screening.

If, after this discussion, a man is unable to decide if testing is right for him, the screening decision can be made by the health care provider, who should take into account the patient’s general health preferences and values.

Assuming no prostate cancer is found as a result of screening, the time between future screenings depends on the results of the PSA blood test.

Contact Us

Lassen Medical Clinic, Red Bluff
2450 Sister Mary Columba Drive
Red Bluff, CA 96080
Phone: 530-527-0414

Lassen Medical Clinic, Cottonwood
20833 Long Branch Drive
Cottonwood, CA 96022
Phone: 530-347-3418

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