A man is unaware of a monstrous shadow behind him until a woman next to him points it out.

The Wake Up Call

Men are often taken back when I casually mention that prostate cancer is as great a threat to a man’s life as breast cancer is to the life of a woman. Men are shocked when I mention there appears to be a genetic link between breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Know your family history of cancer

Simply put if your mother, grandmother, or sister had breast cancer, it may be a good idea to have your PSA tested on a regular basis. If you or a male in your immediate family line has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your daughter or granddaughter may be well advised of the need for routine breast exams.

Men, we need to take ownership of our health

Some men I speak with still hold to the belief that prostate cancer is not a threat and remain convinced that it is "the good" cancer. The early warning signs of prostate cancer (PCa) that closely mimic the disease include frequent or difficult urination especially at night possibly later followed by failing to "rise to the occasion" when called upon. Men tend to avoid MD offices as much as possible and typically visit when it is absolutely necessary.

Women on the other hand and possibly due to the need for gynecological appointments are more aware of health issues and tend to visit MDs more frequently. And they outlive men by many years.

Screening gives us a better chance of survival

Early PSA testing should start around age 40 if you have had more than one first-degree relative diagnosed at an early age. Otherwise, screening is recommended to begin at age 50.1

Early screening can offer you a better chance of survival. Problems in passing urine or sexual dysfunction are some warning signs of prostate cancer but not always. You may simply be dealing with a treatable condition such as prostate enlargement or a prostate infection. You might also be very surprised to learn that difficulty with erections is also an early warning for heart disease.

Ask your doctor sooner than later

So here is a hint: it is always best to seek out medical attention sooner than later. According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is the most common type of non-skin cancer occurring in men. Today it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men after lung cancer. At the same time, lung cancer deaths are on the decline due to new and more effective treatments.

Our medical histories are all unique

Remember, early detection of prostate cancer impacts the effectiveness of your treatment journey. Men who are proactive and who are tested at an early age for a rising PSA have a higher chance of surviving developing prostate cancer.

We are all different. Exactly which prostate cancer treatment you may need is done on a case by case basis. Surgery, chemotherapy, hormone treatment, immunotherapy, active surveillance, seed implants, external beam or proton radiation all can be used in various combinations to fight the disease.

Be mindful of your diet and lifestyle

In closing, there appears to be a close link between lifestyle factors and an increased chance of developing or enabling the spread of prostate cancer. The Mediterranean diet along with taking steps to lower your consumption of red meat and alcohol all are pointing to and suggest those steps may help. Know your family's medical history, but also be mindful of your diet, lifestyle and other preexisting conditions.

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