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21st Century Oncology Blog

Hug Every Day


21st Century Oncology Blog

BE Screened: September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

By Kim Commins-Tzoumakas | September 20, 2019

prostate exam

“The early bird gets a choice, which, to me, is more important than the worm itself.”

-Author Stacey Alcorn

I came across this variation on “The early bird gets the worm” proverb some time ago, and mentally filed it away for when I would write about the importance of pre-screening for prostate cancer. For men, it’s critical to catch things at an early stage, before it spreads, so that we can offer them the most options to help treat it.

But according to a study conducted in 2018 by the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), forty-two percent of men say fear and dread of discomfort are two of the main reasons they do not get screened for prostate cancer. And half of those who participated in the research said they avoided the screening because of the misperception that a screening starts with a physical, which involves a Digital Rectal Examination (DRE). In reality, it could be as simple as having a blood test to check for elevated PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) levels.

“While perceived as uncomfortable for some, screening for prostate cancer can be done quickly and easily and can end up saving many lives,” says Dr. Scott Caesar of 21st Century Oncology’s University Urology in Florida. “It’s important for a doctor to begin to gather facts, and create benchmarks in order to assess the current situation, and use them to inform findings and possible treatments down the road.”

The Center for Disease Control says all men are at risk for prostate cancer, with 13 out of every 100 getting it sometime over the course of their lives. They identified certain groups of men who are at a higher risk and should put a prostate cancer screening at the top of their “To Do” list…

    • African-Americans More likely to get prostate cancer than other men. Twice as likely to die from it than white men. Get it at a younger age, and have more advanced disease when diagnosed.

 

    • Family History of Prostate Cancer Men who have a father, son or brother who have had it. Those with three or more from this first-degree group of relatives on the same side may have a type caused by genetic changes that are inherited.

 

    • Older Men The older a man is, the greater the chance of getting prostate cancer.

 

    • BRCA History The PCF also advised that those with a family history of the BRCA gene mutation should be aware that in addition to breast cancer, this mutation has also been associated with higher risk for prostate cancer.

 

Today, patients who are screened and diagnosed have more choices for treatment than ever before. Our Dr. Simon Blanc attended the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in June and brought back news of three breakthrough treatments.

“There are new drugs coming that are prolonging the lives, and the quality of life, of prostate cancer patients,” said Dr. Blanc, “but no drug, no treatment can do what it’s supposed to do if men don’t get screened and diagnosed in the first place.”

I could not agree more. That’s why 21st Century Oncology has launched the “BE a man. Get a prostate exam.” campaign. It encourages potentially at-risk men to get screened. To learn more, go to 21co.com/BEaMan.

We understand what goes through your mind when it comes to these kinds of things, and we’re here to help. It’s all about giving you the best possible choices at the best possible time. And it starts with getting a pre-screening for prostate cancer by The Dream Team at 21st Century Oncology. It will be time well spent.