Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting men, and like many other health topics, there can be many misconceptions surrounding the diagnosis. The unfortunate truth is all men run the risk of developing prostate cancer within their lifetime, but certain lifestyle factors have been proven to increase your overall risk.
So, how do you separate fact from fiction in regards to prostate cancer? Keep reading to find out!
Fact vs. Fiction About Prostate Cancer
Myth: Only older men get prostate cancer.
Fact: Although the risk of prostate cancer increases with age, and most men diagnosed with prostate cancer are over the age of 65, the truth of the matter is that it can affect men of any age, including those in their 40s and 50s. This is why routine screenings with your doctor are essential to detect prostate cancer when it is in its earliest stages.
Myth: Prostate cancer is always aggressive and deadly.
Fact: Some types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can progress quickly, resulting in death, but most prostate cancers are slow-growing. In fact, some prostate cancers can take up to 15 years to spread to other parts of the body.
Myth: Prostate cancer always causes symptoms.
Fact: Prostate cancer does not always cause noticeable symptoms, especially when it is in its early stages. Additionally, symptoms can often be mistaken for other conditions like urinary tract infections and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Common symptoms of prostate cancer include difficulty starting a urine stream or urine dribbling, nighttime urination, frequent urination, urinary retention, and urinary incontinence.
Myth: High PSA levels always indicate prostate cancer.
Fact: Elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) can be an indicator of various prostate conditions, including prostate infections and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Although PSA levels can be indicative of cancer, an elevated level is not always cause for concern and could be due to something less serious. If your PSA comes back elevated, your doctor will order further testing to assess for prostate cancer.
Myth: Prostate cancer is hereditary and can’t be prevented.
Fact: While a family history of prostate cancer increases your risk of developing prostate cancer, other lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco may contribute to reducing the risk. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, make sure to speak to your doctor to keep up to date with prostate health screenings so that if prostate cancer develops, it can be detected early.
Myth: Prostate cancer always requires treatment.
Fact: Not all prostate cancers require immediate treatment. Some may be managed through active surveillance as your doctor closely monitors your prostate without initiating any treatment. Treatment of prostate cancer is highly individualized and is based on certain factors such as your age, overall health, and the characteristics of the cancer.
Myth: Prostate cancer treatment causes erectile dysfunction.
Fact: While some prostate cancer treatments like surgery or radiation may carry the risk of the development of erectile dysfunction, not all men experience this side effect. There are many treatment options available to men with prostate cancer, and every person responds differently to treatment.
Myth: Dietary supplements can prevent prostate cancer.
Fact: While a healthy diet is beneficial for overall health, there’s no conclusive evidence that specific dietary supplements can prevent the development of prostate cancer. It is more important to see your doctor regularly for routine screenings to remain as healthy as possible than taking dietary supplements unless directed by your doctor.
Make a Plan To Monitor Your Prostate Health
Regular checkups and screenings with your doctor are essential for the early detection of prostate cancer, so it is important to see your doctor at least once a year.
If you have questions about what may be true or false regarding your prostate health, make an appointment to speak to a urologist today!