By Nikki, Pure Matters
September is National Prostate and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that both of these cancers can be treated successfully, especially if they are treated early? Here are some facts about these cancers from HealthReach Community Health Centers:
- 1 in every 6 men will develop prostate cancer at some point in his life.
- An estimated 1 in 58 women will develop ovarian cancer during her life.
- In women age 35-74 ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.
- Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of male cancer-related deaths in the U.S.
- If diagnosed and treated early the 5-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is over 90 percent.
- If diagnosed and treated early the 5-year survival rate for prostate cancer is almost 100 percent.
So, how can you ensure that you don’t have either of these cancers? Get screened! Screening for prostate cancer literally takes 10 minutes with a simple blood test and physical exam. Every man age 50 and up should be screened yearly and African-American men should talk to their doctors about getting screened even earlier. Often, prostate cancer goes undetected because there are no symptoms in the early stages, so the importance of yearly screening is great. In more advanced stages the symptoms can be difficult or frequent urination, difficulty starting urination, blood in urine, bone pain, change in quality or quantity of semen, loss of libido, and pain with ejaculation.
Unfortunately, screening for ovarian cancer is not as simple. Routine screening is not suggested unless there is a strong family history and the screen consists of genetic testing along with a series of other tests. Unlike prostate cancer, there are symptoms such as pelvic or abdominal pain, frequent and/or urgent urination, pelvic or abdominal bloating, feeling of fullness, fatigue, weight gain/loss, and change in bowel habits.
If you have any risk factors you should also consider getting screened. Risk factors include:
- Personal and/or family history of cancer is a risk factor for all types of cancer. The closer the relation is, the higher the risk is.
- Undesired infertility is a risk factor for ovarian cancer.
- Having undergone hormone therapy increases cancer risk
- Women who have never been pregnant are at a higher risk
- Smoking can contribute to the growth of prostate cancer tumors and may interfere with chemotherapy treatment.
- Obesity is linked to prostate cancer severity. Men who are significantly overweight have a 33 percent greater risk of dying from prostate cancer than men who are not obese.
- High bad (LDL) cholesterol may be a risk factor for prostate cancer.
- Increasing age is a risk factor for both prostate and ovarian cancers.
The most important thing with all cancers is to be informed and to be proactive. Talk to your doctor at your next visit if you have any concerns.