Breakthrough Patient Recruitment

: Prostate Cancer Awareness Doesn’t Have to Wait Until “Movember”

Prostate Cancer Awareness Doesn’t Have to Wait Until “Movember”

Recruitment Specialist

Prostate cancer awareness typically spikes in November when men's facial hair plagues our streets, but it deserves so much more attention than that. September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness month, so now is as good a time as any to talk about this frighteningly common disease.

Not including skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. One out of every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Think about six men in your life--your father, grandfather, brother, son, significant other, that guy who hooks you up with free guacamole at Chipotle, or even yourself. One in six is a pretty significant number. Of those diagnosed, about 1 in 20 will not catch the disease before it spreads outside of the prostate gland. Of these metastasized cases, only about one-third will even survive for just five years after their diagnosis.

Here's where the lowdown on prostate cancer gets a little more optimistic: early diagnoses dramatically increase survival rates. For men who catch prostate cancer when it is still localized or even just relatively contained to the prostate region, nearly 100 percent will survive the next five years and 94 percent will still be going strong more than 15 years from now. That is why awareness for this disease is so crucial. Men should be tested early and often. No one wants to get a rectal exam, but they are one of the best methods for doctors to detect abnormalities and are performed during the colonoscopies you should be getting anyway, especially if you're an older gentleman. Sixty-five percent of prostate cancer cases are in men older than 65, and although many of the risk factors for developing this disease are highly genetic, some are controllable. These risk factors include a lack of physical activity, obesity, and smoking. Studies also show that diet can play an important factor in both risk and prevention, with diets high in red meat and dairy increasing the likelihood of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Meanwhile, a diet filled with high-fiber and low-fat foods is one preventative measure you can take. However, the most important thing is to know the signs and symptoms and not wait to see a doctor if you begin to experience them.

If you want to aid in the promotion of early detection this month, there are plenty of options to get involved in awareness campaigns:

  • The Blue September organization encourages you to paint your face blue each Friday in September (or you know, wear something blue… I support face painting).
  • "Pints for Prostates" is a charity to benefit prostate cancer awareness, prevention, and also those affected by the disease by making appearances at beer events, social networking and pro bono advertising.
  • ZERO Prostate Cancer has runs and walks all this month aimed at creating the "first generation of men free from prostate cancer."
  • Host your own event! What's stopping you from creating your own idea to spread awareness? The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia suggests hosting barbecues. Here in the United States, the Prevent Cancer Foundation lists Texas Hold'em tournaments, Crossfit competitions, and golf tournaments as just some of the fun, new ideas people have come up with to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

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