Early Detection of Prostate Cancer Often Provides Better Treatment Options

By now, most people know that September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and that prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men — second only to skin cancer. But did you know that not all prostate cancers are the same? Some prostate cancers grow and spread quickly, but most grow slowly. Fortunately, screenings can find prostate cancer early, which can make a difference in a man’s health.

Doctors use a digital rectal exam (DRE) or a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to screen for prostate cancer, and sometimes both. PSA (a substance made by the prostate gland) is often elevated in men with prostate cancer or other prostate conditions.

Screening considerations
According to the American Cancer Society, about one man in eight will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, but thankfully the majority can recover with early detection and treatment. The risk of prostate cancer rises with age. So if you’re a man in your 40s or older, talk with your doctor about your prostate cancer risk and whether screening might be right for you.

African American Men at Higher Risk
If you are an African American man, your chances of getting prostate cancer and a more aggressive form of the disease may be increased. That’s why experts often advise African American men (and anyone with a family history of prostate cancer) to start prostate cancer screening at about age 45, versus age 50 for men at average risk for prostate cancer.

Better treatments
If your PSA is elevated or rising rapidly for your age, or if your doctor feels a rectal lump, you may need a biopsy. But even if the biopsy results are positive, you might not need treatment right away. Again, because prostate cancer often grows slowly, your doctor might offer you the option of monitoring the disease with testing and treating it only when necessary.

Your doctor may use tools such as a pathology report and Gleason score (the grade of the cancer) to help predict if prostate cancer is likely to grow quickly.

Treatment options, including radiation therapy and surgery, are more precise today with physicians utilizing advanced technology, like CyberKnife and da Vinci® robotic surgery systems. As a result, prostate cancer can often be treated in less time and with quicker recoveries and fewer side effects than in the past.

Free Screenings Provided in September
Men age 40 and older, or those with any risk factors, are encouraged to participate in the Health System’s free prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test screening. Test results will be mailed to each participant. Appointments are required. The screening schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 17, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Community Health & Wellness Fair
Camden County Recreation Center, 1050 Wildcat Drive, Kingsland

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 4–7 p.m.
Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Primary Care, 21300 Hwy. 82, Ste. C, Waynesville
Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Primary Care, 1022 Miller Lane SW, Darien

Thursday, Sept. 29, 4–7 p.m.
Southeast Georgia Health System Outpatient Care Center, 2500 Starling St., Brunswick

For more information or to make an appointment, call 855-ASK-SGHS (855-275-7447).