Men in the United States are more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other type of cancer, except for skin cancers. Prostate cancer kills about 34,000 American men annually, and nearly 250,000 men are newly diagnosed each year.
At Maria Cole Family Practice in Odessa, Texas, we offer regular prostate cancer screening tests as part of our men’s health services so that we can catch and treat prostate cancer as early as possible. What’s your risk for prostate cancer and when should you be screened? Read on to find out.
You’re over age 50
Prostate cancer appears most often in men who are older than 50 years of age. In fact, more than half of the prostate cancer cases in the U.S. occur in men who are over age 65.
However, young men aren’t exempt from prostate cancer, particularly if they have other risk factors. We usually recommend that men without high risk factors start screening for prostate cancer once they hit 50, while those with risk factors start at 40-45.
You’re of African-American or Caribbean descent
African-American and Caribbean-American men are at a substantially elevated risk for prostate cancer and are more likely to face a more aggressive form of the disease, which may be resistant to hormone therapy. If you’re African American, you’re also more likely to develop the disease before you hit 40, and have a 111% increased risk of death.
If you’re African American, we recommend starting your prostate cancer screenings by age 45. However, if you have a family history of the disease, you should begin at age 40.
You have a family history of prostate cancer
As with many diseases, prostate cancer may be influenced by genes and heredity. Mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes may increase prostate cancer risk in men. If you have the genetic condition known as Lynch syndrome, your risk is increased, too.
Let us know if any men in your family had prostate cancer or if any women had breast cancer. If so, you could be at increased risk and should start your screenings early.
You live in a prostate-cancer zone
Asian men who live in Asia have a reduced risk for prostate cancer, when compared to Asian men who live in other parts of the world. Researchers don’t yet know why certain geographic areas are more associated with prostate cancer than others, though levels of pollution and lifestyle factors may be at play.
You’re more likely to develop prostate cancer if you live in:
- North America
- Caribbean islands
- Western Europe
Men who live in Africa, Asia, and Central or South America, in contrast, are at decreased risk.
You’re exposed to toxins or stress
If you live in a polluted environment or work with toxic chemicals, you’re at increased risk for prostate cancer. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) also increase your risk, so wear a condom during intercourse and be sure to get tested regularly for STDs.
Even the kinds of habits and substances you expose yourself to due to lifestyle choices may increase your risk. Avoid:
- Alcohol use
- Red meat
- High-fat dairy
You should also try to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, because obesity raises your risk. If you need help adjusting your lifestyle, talk to us about medically supervised weight loss. We can also refer you to a substance-use program, if necessary.
You have BPH or prostatitis
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is — as its name suggests — a benign condition. Your prostate continues to grow throughout your life, so as you age you’re likely to have an enlarged prostate (BPH).
Both BPH and an inflamed or swollen prostate (prostatitis), however, increase your risk for prostate cancer. If you have either of these conditions, we recommend more frequent screenings to catch potential disease in its earliest, most curable stages. Be sure to let us know if you have any of the following troubling symptoms that could be related to your prostate, such as:
- Painful ejaculation
- Urinary incontinence or urgency
- Dribbling urine
- Increased need to urinate at night
- Blood in your semen
- Decreased volume of semen
- Pain or pressure in your pelvis or rectum
- Erectile dysfunction
Keep on top of your prostate health by booking your men’s health consultation and prostate cancer screening today. Call our team at 432-200-9087 or reach us with our online message form.