As September marks Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a timely reminder for men to prioritize their prostate health.
The prostate plays an important role in reproductive and urinary functions. Despite this, many men tend to overlook or underestimate the significance of maintaining prostate health. To help shed light on this topic, here are 8 essential things that every man should know about prostate health.
- Understanding the prostate: The prostate is a small, almond-shaped organ located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra and its primary function is to produce seminal fluid.
- Age and risk: The risk of prostate disease increases as men age. Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider are recommended, especially if you are over the age of 50 and at earlier time points if you have a family history of prostate disease or are Black race ancestry. Seek an evaluation if you are experiencing any type of a urinary issue.
- Common prostate problems: Prostate issues can range from bothersome urinary symptoms, including frequent nighttime urination and a weakened urinary stream. These urinary issues are often related to conditions such as an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia – BPH) but can be due less infrequently to more serious ones like prostate cancer.
- Diet and lifestyle: Living a healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on your prostate health. This includes eating a balanced diet, limiting processed foods, maintaining a healthy weight and staying hydrated. Finally, managing conditions like anxiety, depression, sleep apnea and diabetes can also benefit your prostate health.
- Exercise: Staying physically active and engaging in regular exercise contributes to better prostate health.
- Screenings: Screenings, such as digital rectal exams and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests, with your healthcare provider can help detect any abnormalities or signs of prostate issues early.
- Prostate cancer awareness: Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. Your risk may be higher for prostate cancer if you are over the age of 50, Black race or have a family history of prostate cancer. Understanding the risk factors, symptoms and available treatment options is important for early detection and treatment.
- New treatment options: Innovations in medical technology have changed the landscape of disease treatment. For example, Aquablation, is a new minimally invasive surgical technique that uses a combination of water energy and ultrasound imaging to remove excess prostate tissue, beneficial for men with BPH. In addition, some men with prostate cancer may benefit from focal therapies, such as Nanoknife, for destroying tumors without the risk of side effects.