2010-09-04 / News

September is Prostrate Cancer Awareness Month

NEWARK – Joe Ebel, Licking County Health Commissioner, recently announced that September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the United States, where it is responsible for more male deaths than any other cancer except lung cancer.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that only men have. It is part of the reproductive system that makes the fluid that carries sperm. Prostate cancer is made up of cells that do not grow normally. The cells divide and create new cells that the body does not need, forming a mass of tissue called a tumor. These abnormal cells sometimes spread to other parts of the body, multiply, and cause death. Usually though, prostate cancer grows slowly enough that men die of other causes before the prostate cancer can cause death.

The chances of getting prostate cancer go up as a man gets older. It accounts for about two out of every three cancers found in men over the age of 65. African American men are more likely than Caucasian men to develop prostate cancer and are more than twice as likely to die from it. Many men have no symptoms. If symptoms appear, they can include: blood in the urine, the need to urinate frequently, especially at night, weak or interrupted urine flow, pain or burning while urinating, or constant pain in the lower back, pelvis, or upper thighs. If a man has these symptoms he should see a doctor as soon as possible, while keeping in mind that these symptoms can be caused by other prostate problems that are not cancer.

The best defense against prostate cancer is early screening. Prostate cancer can usually be found in its early stages by having a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam. Also, the American Cancer Society suggests that another way to reduce the risk of prostate cancer is to eat less red meat and fat, and eat five or more serving’s everyday, of fruit and vegetables, while increasing consumption of whole grain foods.

For more information visit www.lickingcohealth.org or www. cancer.org

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