Telling fact from fiction is your first defense when it comes to prostate cancer.
Sure, you are growing your Mo (or mustache in support of November’s Prostate Cancer Awareness month) but do you know that prostate cancer is not just a disease that affects old dudes? No, most men afflicted are in their 50s. Did you also know that prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men in the U.S.?
You might believe that you know enough about prostate cancer in order to recognize the signs and symptoms if they affected you or someone you love. However, doctors and cancer experts worry about the popular prostate cancer myths might negatively impact your awareness or decisions about taking pro-active decisions about your health. For instance:
Myth #1. Prostate cancer treatment causes impotence
Although it is a fact that 50% of all men who undergo prostate cancer treatment will experience problems with erectile dysfunction, it can be only temporary. A talk with your doctor will inform you on the risks and shed light on popular erectile dysfunction medications, like Cialis, Viagra and Levitra. These drugs don’t come cheap so purchasing Canadian drugs online at heavily discounted rates may be an option. Men that undergo surgery or radiation have experienced potency issues due to the damage to nerves and blood vessels (the same nerves and blood vessels that control erection), as well as lower sex drive due to hormone therapy. However the side effects of surgery, radiation and hormone therapy, typically subside within a year following treatment. Erectile-stimulating drugs can also be prescribed by your doctor until normal erectile function returns.
The risk: If a man believes he will have to live impotent as a result of prostate cancer, he may refuse treatment altogether and increase his risk of death when in actuality only 50% of men suffer erectile issues, temporarily in the 6 to 12 months following prostate cancer treatment.
Myth #2. Prostate cancer is a disease that affects elderly men only
Most people think that only senior men (65 years or older) are at risk for prostate cancer. That’s why when men in their 40s and 50s are diagnosed people think it’s rare or not common.
The risk: If a man believes that you have to be a senior to be at risk of prostate cancer, he may ignore the symptoms of the disease or think that he doesn’t have to worry and avoid or delay treatment if he’s diagnosed.
Myth #3. The symptoms of prostate cancer are obvious
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Prostate cancer in the early stages typically shows zero symptoms. The symptoms, most commonly urinary tract and back issues, become evident only when you are in the advanced stages of the disease and by then the cancer is treatable to prolong life, but no longer curable.
The risk: If you are only looking for the obvious symptoms, you may avoid annual prostate screens. That’s why awareness events like Movember exist, to remind men (aged 40 and up) to get their prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood levels checked annually.
Myth #4. People don’t die of prostate cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 240,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. Still, many men believe that no one man ever dies of prostate cancer.
The risk: The good news is that in most cases, if a doctor catches prostate cancer early on, it’s not only treatable, but curable. However, it’s still the second leading cancer killer for American men. Risk of death occurs if your doctor catches prostate cancer early on and you avoid treatment in belief that the disease can’t kill you.
Bernice Spradlin is an avid hiker and runner. She works at a gym in
Brooklyn, New York, where she gets great inspiration for her freelance
health-related articles and blogs. In her off time, you can often find
Bernice jogging the East River path along the waterfront and enjoying
the cool breeze. Bernice is currently looking for freelance writing
work, and can be contacted at BerniceG.Spradlin@gmail.com
Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in submitting a guest post, please click the “guest post” tab at the top of this blog’s main page. You’ll find submission guidelines. Facts, opinions, research and advice from our guest writers cannot substitute for a visit to your family physician.