LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- The American Cancer Society says prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men. Because there are only a few symptoms --- men often don't know they have the disease. The best way to protect yourself is with yearly screenings.
One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, but thanks to screening and early detection only one out of thirty-nine men will die from it. Senior Radiation Oncologist Dr. Michael Kerley says treatment is based on severity.
"At least 70 percent of men probably no therapy is recommended. You just observe and check it periodically to see if it's progressing and then treat it if it progresses. But as long as it stays indolent, not life threatening, you can observe forever. In fact, many men go to their grave with prostate cancer, having not died of prostate cancer."
Dr. Kerley says the American Cancer Society recommends men who have multiple first-degree relatives who have had cancer to be screened as early as 50 or 45. He says the cancer is more common though in men ages 55 to 69.
"After 69, usually if you get prostate cancer, it's one of the low-grade ones that aren't going to take you out. So, they don't recommend a routine screening in that case. Unless you already have a history."
While symptoms are uncommon at the time of diagnosis, they do still occur. Some common symptoms are inability to empty the bladder, frequent urination and pain while urinating. It's important to discuss with your doctor about your treatment options, and whether or not your case is severe enough to undergo treatment.
"If you get treatment for prostate cancer, and that's why we try not to if we don't have to, men can be rendered incontinent of urine, they can get E.D., they can be rendered infertile because of that. So, if you're in reproductive years and you can put off treatment, you probably will want to put off treatment."
Screening is done by a blood test and a digital rectal exam. After that, doctor's will decide if a biopsy test is needed.
"It's not a death sentence. Many men are alive today and many men go to their grave with prostate cancer that's never bothered. It's good to know though, so you can kind of plan your life and make your decisions."
The Leah M. Fitch Cancer Center in Lawton will be having their annual free Prostate Cancer Screening on Saturday September 9th from 8 to Noon. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 580-250-6565.
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