September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month


THIS PROGRAM IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY SERIOUS
TEXAS BARBECUE, WE TAKE OUR MEAT SERIOUSLY. YOU’RE WATCHING DURANGO TV NEWS. I’M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. SEPTEMBER HAS BEEN DESIGNATED AS PROSTATE
CANCER AWARENESS MONTH TO BRING ATTENTION TO THE SECOND MOST COMMON CANCER IN MEN. BUT IT’S ALSO ONE OF THE MOST TREATABLE
CANCERS IF FOUND EARLY. UNFORTUNATELY, ITS DETECTION AND TREATMENT
REMAIN CONTROVERSIAL, PARTIALLY BECAUSE OF THE UNRELIABILITY OF SCREENING TESTS AND BECAUSE
OF THE NATURE OF THE CANCER ITSELF. PROSTATE CANCER TUMORS CAN BE SLOW-GROWING
AND RELATIVE HARMLESS OR THEY CAN BE AGGRESSIVE AND POTENTIALLY DEADLY. THE DEADLY TUMORS ARE LESS COMMON THAN THE
SLOW-MOVING CANCERS, AND THE TYPICAL AMERICAN MALE HAS JUST A 3 PERCENT CHANCE OF DYING
FROM PROSTATE CANCER. IN 1994, THE FEDERAL DRUG ADMINISTRATION APPROVED
THE USE OF THE PROSTATE-SPECIFIC ANTIGEN TEST TO SCREEN FOR THE PROTEINS THAT PROSTATE CANCERS
PRODUCE. THE TEST SHOWS ONLY THE PRESENCE OF PROTEINS
AND DOESN’T ACTUALLY DETECT CANCER. NOR CAN IT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE TWO KINDS
OF CANCERS. FURTHERMORE, IT CAN LEAD TO A FALSE POSITIVE
AND MORE UNNECESSARY TESTS. SCREENING IS A VERY CONTROVERSIAL AREA FOR
PROSTATE CANCER WE’VE GONE FROM RECOMMENDING ALL MEN GET SCREENED FOR PROSTATE CANCER AFTER
A CERTAIN AGE, TO RECOMMEND AGAINST SCREENING FOR MEN BECAUSE WE WEREN’T REALLY ABLE TO
SHOW A BENEFIT TO THE SCREENING. NOT THAT WE COULD DIAGNOSE THE CANCER, BUT
THE DATA WASN’T THERE AS FAR AS THE BENEFIT A HIGH NUMBER OF ANTIGENS FROM THE TEST OFTEN
LEADS TO A BIOPSY, WHICH CARRIES ITS OWN RISKS. IF THE BIOPSY SHOWS CANCER, THEN THAT CAN
LEAD TO TREATMENTS WITH A VARIETY OF RISK FACTORS OR SIDE EFFECTS THAT COULD BE WORST
THAN THE CANCER ITSELF, ESPECIALLY IF IT’S THE SLOW-MOVING KIND THAT DOESN’T CAUSE
HARM. IN THE EARLIEST STAGES WE DON’T HAVE THE DATA
AT THIS TIME TO SAY WHICH MEN WITH THEIR CANCER WILL BE SLOW GROWING AND OR WHICH MEN WILL
BE FASTER GROWING OR MORE AGGRESSIVE. NOW THERE’S, THERE SOME THAT WOULD TEND TO
BE VERY AGGRESSIVE. BUT FOR THE MAJORITY WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THOSE
POPULATIONS ARE. OKAY SO IT BECOMES AN AREA OF DISCUSSION WITH
THE PATIENT, AS TO WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. SOME MEN CHOOSE TO BE WATCHED AND JUST FOLLOW
THAT CANCER UNTIL IT PROGRESSES OR UNTIL IT WORSENS, BUT A LOT OF MEN TO DO IS CHOOSE
TO TREAT IT. AND THE MAIN TREATMENTS ARE EITHER GONNA BE SURGERY TO REMOVE THE CANCER, OR
RADIATION TREATMENTS. EITHER DOING RADIOACTIVE SEEDS TO IMPLANT
THE PROSTATE OR A COURSE OF EXTERNAL BEAM RADIATION. WHERE THEY COME IN EVERY DAY FOR SIX TO EIGHT
WEEKS TO HAVE THEIR RADIATION THERAPY. A NUMBER OF STATISTICAL STUDIES HAVE FOUND
NO CORRELATION BEEN THE USE OF THE ANTIGEN TEST AND LOWERED FATALITY RATES FROM PROSTATE
CANCER, AND BECAUSE IT CAN LEAD TO FALSE POSITIVE RESULTS AND UNNECESSARY SURGICAL PROCEDURES,
THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY NO LONGER RECOMMENDS ROUTINE PROSTATE CANCER SCREENINGS. HOWEVER, IT DOES RECOOMMEND THAT MEN DISCUSS
THE RISKS WITH THEIR PHYSICIANS TO DECIDE WHETHER THE SCREENING TESTS ARE WARRANTED. AND BE SURE TO DISCUSS ANY PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS
THAT MAY BE PRESENT. EARLY PROSTATE CANCER USUALLY CAUSES NO SYMPTOMS,
BUT MORE ADVANCED CANCERS MAY, ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT. CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH
URINATING, INCLUDING A SLOW OR WEAK STREAM OR THE NEED TO URINATE MORE OFTEN, ESPECIALLY
AT NIGHT. YOU HAVE BLOOD IN YOUR URINE OR SEMEN. YOU HAVE ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION. YOU HAVE PAIN IN THE HIPS, SPINE, CHEST OR
OTHER AREAS FROM CANCER THAT HAS SPREAD TO THE BONES. YOU HAVE WEAKNESS OR NUMBNESS IN THE LEGS
OR FEET OR LOSS OF BLADDER OR BOWEL CONTROL FROM CANCER PRESSING ON THE SPINAL CORD. ALTHOUGH THOSE SYMPTOMS MAY BE CAUSED BY SOMETHING
OTHER THAN PROSTATE CANCER, THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT YOU NEED TO TELL YOUR HEALTH CARE
PROVIDER ABOUT ANY UNUSUAL SYMPTOMS TO STAY ON TOP OF YOUR HEALTH. IF YOU’D LIKE TO KNOW MORE, VISIT THE AMERICAN
CANCER SOCIETY’S WEB SITE AT CANCER DOT ORG.

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