Dr. Ken Jones

Note: the following item from Dr. Ken Jones was provided by Floyd Medical Center. – KtE

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a good time to remind men about the importance of prostate health.

Prostate cancer is most common in men 50 older. It is important that you do what you can to maintain your overall health, which is a wise practice regardless of how old you are or what disease you are trying to prevent.

Who is at the greatest risk for prostate cancer:

⦁ Men who are 50 and older
⦁ African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans
⦁ People of Scandinavian descent
⦁ Anyone who has two or more family members previously diagnosed with prostate cancer

Diet and Exercise Are Important

Several studies have indicated there is a possible link between what you eat, your level of fitness and prostate cancer.

One suggestion is to eat more leafy, green vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli. They are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. You may not find them delicious on their own, but a search of the Internet will likely provide some tasty recipes.

Vitamin D is also important when it comes to your ability to stay healthy. While supplements can help, getting some direct sunlight is also a good idea. Vitamin D can help your body’s immune system stay powerful. It can also improve your heart health.

It’s also a good idea to try to stick to a low-fat diet while also eating lots of fruits and vegetables. That might mean avoiding whole milk, fatty cheeses and fried foods. The fresher the better. Studies of the correlation between fat and prostate cancer have been mixed, but eating healthier is always a good idea.

Try to develop a regular and steady exercise routine. Studies indicate that men who have a regular exercise regimen have a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Again, exercise also improves your overall health.

If you haven’t exercised regularly, start out slow. Walking is always a good place to start and as the summer ends and cooler weather is on its way, you will have more opportunities to walk outside without getting overheated. Try to get at least half an hour of exercise at least four days a week.

Communication is Important

Talk to your primary care physician about if and when you should be screened. Not all health care advocates are in agreement on when you should start get screened and what diagnostic tool is best.

There are pros and cons to some prostate cancer screenings, and a decision to begin screenings should be made with your doctor.

If you have any of the following symptoms you should contact your doctor:

⦁ Frequent urge to urinate, especially at night
⦁ Slow urine stream
⦁ Painful urination, or blood in urine
⦁ Painful ejaculation
⦁ Pain in lower back or pelvis

Screening Options

A prostate specific antigen test detects the level of PSA in the blood. Your prostate makes PSA and higher levels can indicate the presence of cancer, but elevated PSA levels can occur for other reasons as well.

Your doctor may also do a digital rectal exam, in which he will use his finger to feel the prostate for any possible abnormalities.

If a blood test revealed high PSA levels but a biopsy indicated the absence of cancer, your physician might order a prostate cancer gene 3 (PCA3) RNA test. This test measures the amount of PCA3 RNA in the urine.

Talk to your physician if you have any symptoms or questions about testing.

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