Ask any man who has beat back and survived prostate cancer – what should other men know to protect their health from this disease?
Julius Ceasar once said that experience is the best teacher. Any man who has been through a prostate cancer diagnosis knows firsthand from actual observation and real-life experience that wisdom comes from having lived through the roller-coaster of emotions after the diagnosis and treatment. These emotions can range from fear, anxiety, anger, to depression to times of relief and joy. Going through this process can bring about a better understanding of the gift of good health. These men have the capability of being a true “teacher” in regard to educating other men on protecting their health.
While I, as a prostate cancer surgeon, can help diagnose and treat the disease of prostate cancer and give my advice on living a healthy lifestyle, I don’t have personal firsthand experience as a prostate cancer patient. That’s where probably the best people to help spread the word about prostate cancer awareness are men diagnosed with prostate cancer and their loved ones who’ve walked with them every step from diagnosis, treatment to remission.
So, what advice would these men and their loved ones share with other men on what to know to prevent or find prostate cancer at its earliest stage? Here’s what they would say:
There are certain risk factors all men should be aware of regarding this disease. These include the following:
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men and the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. However, when caught early, it’s very treatable, with a survival rate of 98 percent. That’s why finding this disease early is a game-changer. Beginning at age 40, all men should have a baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The PSA test is a diagnostic test for prostate cancer that involves drawing a sample of blood in your doctor’s office. Prostate cancer can cause more PSA to be released than normal; however, other noncancerous-related factors can elevate your PSA number.
The important thing is to talk to your doctor about starting PSA testing at age 40 and then yearly after that. And while many men are squeamish about getting a digital rectal exam (DRE), this should also be part of the diagnostic process as it can detect abnormalities of the prostate or prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer survivors understand that embracing healthy living that plays a role in cancer prevention. Research also supports this notion. That’s because living a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of any cancer by up to one-third, according to a 2018 study. These results are similar to a study from the American Institute for Cancer Research which found one in three adults in the U.S. could prevent a cancer diagnosis if they adopted the following healthy habits:
All cancer patients will need support during this challenging time. Now is the time to express your feelings, do your research, and understand what you can and can’t change. Surround yourself with family and friends whom you can count on to be there when times get rough. Be your own health advocate and work alongside your medical team to get the best care possible.
One more thing prostate cancer survivors will tell other men is to get the word out about this disease. It’s shocking how many men are not well-informed about this disease. Men, who already know what is involved, can be excellent advocates for spreading prostate cancer awareness. Begin by talking to family members – father, brothers, cousins, nephews, or adult grandchildren, letting them know why they are at risk. Then talk to co-workers and friends helping educate them on what is prostate cancer and how can it be reduced. Next, for men on social media, post about prostate cancer, reminding men of its incidence and why all men are potentially at risk.
By taking action before a prostate cancer diagnosis, you can beat back and survive this dreadful disease, potentially shorten a man’s lifespan.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.