It’s more than just a myth that men aren’t always the best at taking care of their health, especially when it means going to the doctor for an annual physical. The reality is that for many men, the need for a yearly checkup just doesn’t resonate. Unlike women who typically begin seeing a physician regularly after puberty, men have no such marker to use to encourage them to see their family physician on a routine basis. According to the experts at WebMD, 30% of all men said they “pushed it to the limit” and delayed going to the doctor for as long as possible.
Unfortunately, this practice means chronic health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure can go undetected. Screenings for life-threatening diseases like prostate cancer are also neglected. It can prevent physicians from intervening early and keeping smaller health problems from becoming bigger ones.
What Men Should Know: Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Knowing the signs of prostate cancer can literally save a man’s life. Caught before it advances too far, prostate cancer can be treatable. Here are the warning signs the Mayo Clinic says may indicate a problem:
- Trouble urinating and/or decreased force in the stream of urine
- Blood in the semen
- Pain or discomfort in the pelvic area
- Bone pain
- Erectile dysfunction
Unfortunately, the signs of prostate cancer don’t often appear until the disease has progressed. This is why it is important to know more about prostate screenings and what the experts recommend.
Screening for Prostate Cancer
There are two primary screening tests for prostate cancer: the digital rectal exam (DRE) and the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test. There is much disagreement among the leading cancer and men’s health organizations as to which one —if any – should be used. Because prostate cancer is a slow-growing form of cancer and the PSA test may lead to false positives, some experts believe men may be subjected to unnecessary treatments and surgeries. Others believe that despite the drawbacks to the tests, men should still be screened for prostate cancer.
The CDC recommends that, in an effort to make an informed decision, men talk with their family physician to be sure they:
- Understand the nature and risk of prostate cancer
- Understand the risks of, benefits of, and alternatives to screening
- Participate in the decision to be screened or not at a level he desires
- Make a decision consistent with his preferences and values
Learn More About Prostate Cancer
To learn more, we encourage you to visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Their site is rich with the latest research and findings including guides to help men learn about nutrition during cancer treatment, on-going clinical trials, warning signs of prostate cancer and much more.