Monroe, Ga. (Sept. 25, 2020) – The American Cancer Society states that one out of every seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is dangerous because there is often no way to detect it in the early stages; however, surviving prostate cancer is greatly increased when diagnosed early.
“The American Cancer Society recommends that men should discuss screening for prostate cancer at age 50, and I agree,” said Joel Garrison, D.O., a family medicine physician with Piedmont Physicians Monroe Family Practice. “However, those with a higher risk of the disease, including men with a family history of prostate cancer, or African American men, should begin screenings at age 40.”
The first step to screening includes a blood test called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, which measures the level of PSA in the blood.
Dr. Garrison recommends discussing your risks with a doctor before moving forward with the screening. Though there has been some debate around the PSA, the death rate from prostate cancer has steadily declined since its regular use began over 30 years ago. In addition to a PSA blood test, screenings previously included a brief digital rectal exam; however, in 2018, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stated that it no longer recommends this portion of screenings because of the lack of evidence on its benefits.
According to Dr. Garrison, prostate cancer has many risk factors that men can’t control, such as age, family history, and race and ethnicity. Among the risk factors that can be controlled however are maintaining a healthy weight, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and staying physically active.
“One way for men to reduce their personal risk is to choose a low-fat diet,” said Dr. Garrison. “Men who eat a high amount of fat each day have an increased risk of prostate cancer.”
Screening for the disease can help with early detection, but men should also know the signs of a potential issue.
Typical symptoms of prostate cancer include difficulty stopping or starting urination, painful urination, frequent urination at night, blood in the urine and difficulty in getting an erection.
Men should speak with a primary care physician about prevention options if they are concerned about their risk of developing prostate cancer, as well as making healthy lifestyle choices.
For more information about prostate cancer or to book an appointment with Dr. Garrison at Piedmont Physicians Monroe Family Practice, visit piedmont.org.