Men: take charge of your health

October 6, 2021

Early detection is your best protection against prostate cancer

As a quarter of a million men will discover this year, cancer of the prostate gland is one of the most common male cancers, second only to skin cancer, as being more regularly diagnosed in American men. It’s important to remind the men in your life to take steps to protect themselves from prostate cancer—the cancer that claims more than 34,000 lives annually.  

Take care of your overall health and your prostate health will follow

While prostate cancer has a genetic component and there’s no foolproof way to prevent it, there are things you can do to greatly reduce your risk:

  • Get moving. Use exercise to help maintain a healthy weight. While this seems like it is an answer to every health question, it is very important in reducing the likelihood of many types of cancers—including prostate cancer. 
  • Watch what you eat. Limit fat from dairy products and red meat, and include more fish, especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Also, incorporate more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and radishes. Some studies also suggest that cooked tomatoes, which are high in the antioxidant lycopene, are also helpful.
  • Avoid tobacco. Cigarette smoking may impact the size of the enlarging prostate. The cancerous pollutants that smokers inhale are also excreted to some extent in urine, which flows through the prostate and could contribute to cancer. In general, for prostate health—and overall health—eliminating or avoiding tobacco positively impacts many aspects of your health.

Regular wellness visits mean regular screenings 

To beat any cancer, early detection is critical. Regular healthcare visits with a primary care provider are the most important tool to find prostate cancer early, when treatments are less invasive and more successful. And because there are often no symptoms of prostate cancer, without screenings at wellness checks, cancer could develop and grow into something more serious before anyone would know. 

Life begins at 40—so should conversations about prostate screenings

Men over age 40 should start discussing prostate health with their primary care providers and learn the available screening options. Depending on personal risk factors (weight, family history) and race (Black men over age 40 are more likely to develop prostate cancer and lose their lives to the disease), screenings can start any time between ages 40 and 50.

Annual prostate cancer screenings 

By age 50, all men should be getting yearly prostate cancer screenings. Screening options may include both a physical exam by a primary care provider and a Prostate Specific Antigen test (PSA), which looks for a specific protein in the blood. This gold standard of prostate cancer screening is incredibly effective and used to monitor the progression of prostate activity. Even if the PSA indicates normal levels, providers may take additional steps to help rule out any risk of cancers. 

Board-certified urologist is now seeing patients at EBCH— Nicholas Johnson, MD 

Find specialized care to help prevent, detect or treat prostate cancer right here at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital. Board-certified urologist Nick Johnson, M.D., specializes in, among other things, prostate cancer. Talk to your primary care provider about prostate cancer screenings—or for a referral to Dr. Johnson—and see our urology page to learn more.