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September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Health advocates, medical centers, and clinicians rally together every September to observe National Prostate Health Month (NPHM), increasing awareness of good prostate health and screenings for prostate cancer.  With 1 in 6 men being diagnosed with prostate cancer[1], and 8 of 10 men experiencing an enlarged prostate at some point[2], it is essential that awareness and education is spread so that men can know the risk factors and screening measures available. To be informed is quite valuable when it comes to health in general.

The purpose of NPHM

Statistics report that about for every 39 men, 1 will die of prostate cancer. Each year the numbers of men dying from prostate cancer are decreasing, which is good news. Today, there are millions of men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives and are doing fine. Early diagnosis is key to men recovering from prostate cancer.

The purpose of NPHM is to raise awareness in the public about prostate health. Each September, extra emphasis is put on:

  • Providing education in communities about the risk factors associated with prostate cancer
  • Providing easy access to prostate health screenings
  • Recommending additional research for prostate health
  • Community events that remind men about prostate health and screenings

All over the country, health centers and non-profits will organize events in the community that reach men of all ages. There will be free screenings available at various workplaces, hospitals, and clinics. Many organizations use sports as a way of getting into contact with men, hosting tournaments or races so they can give out educational and informational resources.

In fact, Mike Haynes is a Pro Football Hall of Fame member who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and beat it. He is quite active in spreading prostate health awareness through his partnership with the AUA Foundation. He says, “As a cancer survivor, I’m lucky to be able to spread the message with the AUA Foundation and the NFL encouraging other men to take charge of their prostate health and to stay in the game for life.”

At what age should men start getting tested?

There is a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test that is used to test for prostate cancer. That, along with a digital rectal exam (DRE), is usually enough to indicate if there is need to do a biopsy to check for cancerous cells. Most health organizations recommend all men start getting tested yearly at age 40, or age 35 if they are at a higher risk for prostate cancer.

Health experts state that prostate health screenings have helped reduce the rate of prostate cancer death by about 40 percent over the past 15 years. That’s good news, and each year the stats get a little bit better.

If you’ve not had your prostate screening test this year, and you’re over 40, check your local community for prostate screening events, or make an appointment with your primary doctor. For more information about National Prostate Health Month, please visit http://www.prostatehealthmonth.com.

[1] http://pintsforprostates.org/september-is-national-prostate-cancer-awareness-month/

[2] http://www.usrf.org/prostate.html

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