Get Checked in September

Note: the following item Was provided by Atrium Health Floyd, Sponsor of Polk Today content. This Live Well Polk column was authored by Tifani Kinard, the Vice President of Rural Health for Atrium Health Floyd.

ROME, Ga., Sept. 8, 2022 American Cancer Society statistics for prostate cancer are sobering. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, an ideal time for men to learn about the disease and screening.

Key prostate cancer stats from the ACS:

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for prostate cancer in the United States this year are:

  • About 268,490 new cases of prostate cancer
  • About 34,500 deaths from prostate cancer

According to the ACS: About 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is more likely to develop in older men and in non-Hispanic Black men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older, and it is rare in men under 40. The average age of men at diagnosis is about 66.

Deaths from prostate cancer

  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 41 will die of prostate cancer.

The good news is that most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it, according to the ACS. In fact, more than 3.1 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

Who is at the greatest risk for prostate cancer?:

  • Men who are 50 and older
  • African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans
  • People of Scandinavian descent
  • Anyone who has two or more family members previously diagnosed with prostate cancer

Diet and exercise are Important

Several studies have indicated there is a possible link between what you eat, your level of fitness and prostate cancer.

One suggestion is to eat more leafy, green vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli. They are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. You may not find them delicious on their own, but a search of the Internet will likely provide some tasty recipes.

Vitamin D is also important when it comes to your ability to stay healthy. While supplements can help, getting some direct sunlight is also a good idea. Vitamin D can help your body’s immune system stay powerful. It can also improve your heart health.

It’s also a good idea to try to stick to a low-fat diet while also eating lots of fruits and vegetables. That might mean avoiding whole milk, fatty cheeses and fried foods. The fresher the better. Studies of the correlation between fat and prostate cancer have been mixed but eating healthier is always a good idea.

Try to develop a regular and steady exercise routine. Studies indicate that men who have a regular exercise regimen have a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Again, exercise also improves your overall health.

If you haven’t exercised regularly, start out slow. Walking is always a good place to start and as the summer ends and cooler weather is on its way, you will have more opportunities to walk outside without getting overheated. Try to get at least half an hour of exercise at least four days a week.

Communication is Important

Talk to your primary care physician about if and when you should be screened. Not all health care advocates are in agreement on when you should start get screened and what diagnostic tool is best.

There are pros and cons to some prostate cancer screenings, and a decision to begin screenings should be made with your doctor.

If you have any of the following symptoms you should contact your doctor:

  • Frequent urge to urinate, especially at night
  • Slow urine stream
  • Painful urination, or blood in urine
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Pain in lower back or pelvis

Screening Options

A prostate specific antigen test detects the level of PSA in the blood. Your prostate makes PSA and higher levels can indicate the presence of cancer, but elevated PSA levels can occur for other reasons as well.

Your doctor may also do a digital rectal exam, in which he will use his finger to feel the prostate for any possible abnormalities.

If a blood test revealed high PSA levels but a biopsy indicated the absence of cancer, your physician might order a prostate cancer gene 3 (PCA3) RNA test. This test measures the amount of PCA3 RNA in the urine.

Talk to your physician if you have any symptoms or questions about testing.

About Atrium Health Floyd
Since 1942, Floyd, now Atrium Health Floyd, has worked to provide affordable, accessible care in northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama. Today, Atrium Health Floyd is a leading medical provider and economic force. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care.

At the hub of these services is Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center, a 304-bed full-service, acute care hospital and regional referral center. Atrium Health Floyd employs more than 3,400 teammates who provide care in over 40 medical specialties at three hospitals: Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Georgia; Atrium Health Floyd Cherokee Medical Center in Centre, Alabama; Atrium Health Floyd Polk Medical Center in Cedartown, Georgia, as well as Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center Behavioral Health, a freestanding 53-bed behavioral health facility, also in Rome; and a primary care and urgent care network with locations throughout the service area of northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama.

Kevin The Editor

The former Editor of The Polk County Standard Journal and a journalist with more than a decade of experience in Northwest Georgia, Kevin Myrick is the Editor and Publisher of Polk.Today. An Auburn graduate,...