LAGRANGE, Ga. — You may have noticed that some men are refusing to shave this month. They’re likely participating in No Shave November, a tool to help raise awareness about Prostate cancer.
About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Prostate cancer develops mainly in older men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.
William Stinson was diagnosed last year with Prostate cancer when his PSA levels soared to over 10. PSA or Prostate-specific antigen, is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood.
“The magic number is usually four so anything less than four is considered a good number. Between 4 and 7 is something we need to watch and above 7 is a little more concerning,” said Dr. Wassim Mchayleh, an Oncologist with West Georgia Physicians.
WHO SHOULD BE SCREENED?
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. Men should not be screened unless they have received this information. The discussion about screening should take place at:
- Age 50 for men who are 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, brother, or son) 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).
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PROSTATE CANCER
Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. More advanced prostate cancers sometimes cause symptoms, such as:
- Problems urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that has spread to bones
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord
Most of these problems are more likely to be caused by something other than prostate cancer. For example, trouble urinating is much more often caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous growth of the prostate. Still, it’s important to tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
Each September, a $5 PSA and Physical Exam event is held at the Enoch Callaway Cancer Clinic of Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center in LaGrange.
The event is for men 50 and older with no family history of prostate cancer and African American men 40 and older with a family history of prostate cancer. That’s how Stinson caught his cancer.