September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month – an opportunity to increase awareness and educate Canadians about one of the most common cancers in men. Within Canada, prostate cancer is the most diagnosed non-skin cancer in men and the third leading cause of cancer-related death in this group. So, what can be done to prevent it and what does the research say about screening options?
Living a healthy, active lifestyle is an important part of prevention for many cancers, including prostate cancer. Eating a nutritious and balanced diet, full of fruits, vegetables, and fibre, and low in red and processed meats can reduce your chance of getting cancer.
In terms of screening and detection, the conversation will likely include the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. However, research suggests that there are benefits and harms associated with PSA testing. Your physician will help you determine if PSA testing is the best course of action based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances (including ethnicity, family history of disease, and other risk factors). Decision aids in the form of brief booklets are also available to help you make informed choices about tough issues such as prostate cancer screening.
While lower urinary tract symptoms are common, especially in older men, one of the most common causes of an obstruction is an enlarged prostate, which can lead to issues if left untreated. If you experience symptoms, including difficulty urinating, urinating too often, or find that you are getting up frequently at night to urinate, talk to your doctor about your testing and treatment options.
Cancer prevention starts with a healthy lifestyle and being in tune with your body and any irregularities can help with early detection. If you are considering screening for prostate cancer, consult your physician to evaluate whether it is suitable for you. To learn more about prostate cancer and cancer prevention, read through our resources below.