By Delbert Kwan, MD
Your prostate plays a vital role in your reproductive system. In our practice, Dr. Richard Paul and I educate patients on prostate health and work to ensure that men lower their risk of developing prostate cancer as they age. September is recognized each year as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and it is the perfect time for you to start having a conversation with your doctor.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Are The Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?
Risk factors include your age, family health history, obesity, and a high-fat diet. As you age, your prostate may grow, which is normal. However, you should be aware of your family health history. You may be at a higher risk of prostate cancer if your relatives have developed it in the past.
Are There Symptoms I Should be Aware of?
The interesting thing about prostate cancer is that early stages don’t exhibit symptoms. Symptoms arise during late stage, or advanced, prostate cancer. For example, kidney damage, weight loss, or swollen legs or genitals may occur due to advanced prostate cancer, affecting other parts of the body.
How Can I Reduce My Risk?
Getting daily exercise and eating a healthy diet are key to lowering risk. Men should steer clear of fatty foods and increase intake of fruits and vegetables. Men should also have informed conversations with their doctor about when and how often to undergo prostate screenings.
After the age of 40, the prostate starts to enlarge, but that shouldn’t cause you to worry. There is confusion among men that an enlargement of the prostate always causes problems. It is only a problem if it is causing urination symptoms that are bothersome, and it has nothing to do with cancer. It’s important to talk with your physician about your prostate health and screening schedule.
Beebe Healthcare recommends men over 55 be screened at least once a year.