Everybody knows that the best odds of beating cancer are when you find it early. But there’s one type that often lurks undetected. And it affects roughly one out of every nine men in the United States.
Nearly 192,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020. While that’s an alarming statistic, it’s important to know that there are things you can do to minimize your risk; and if cancer is detected, there are effective treatment options available.
There is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer, because many risk factors such as age, race, and family history can’t be controlled. But the American Cancer Society says there’s some things you can do that might lower your risk.
Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
Keep physically active.
Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
Avoid or limit red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and highly processed foods.
Talk with your doctor about risks and benefits before starting vitamins or other supplements.
Before being screened for prostate cancer, men should talk with their doctor about the associated benefits, risks and uncertainties. The timeline for those conversations can vary for each person, but generally should happen at:
Age 50 for men who’re at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years
Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65)
Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age)
After this discussion, men who want to be screened often get the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and possibly a digital rectal exam.
The results of PSA tests are not always conclusive, but if cancer is found, there’s still some good news. Prostate cancer is usually slow growing and often very treatable. In fact, taking a “wait and see” approach is sometimes the recommended course of action rather than aggressive treatment that can have undesirable side effects. Depending on the patient’s particular circumstances, treatments could include:
Cryotherapy to freeze and destroy cancerous tissue
Immunotherapy to stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells
Targeted therapy to use precise drugs for certain cancer cells
The Community Cancer Institute opened in 2018 to give residents in central California coordinated access to expertise and technology that was previously scattered throughout the Valley and across California. Today, the team serves nearly 3,000 patients each month that otherwise might have had to seek care elsewhere.