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September 15, 2023

Prostate Cancer Awareness with James Cook, MSN, FNP-C

by James Cook, MSN, FNP-C

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide, and the second leading cause of death in men in the state of North Carolina, emphasizing the importance of early detection through prostate cancer screenings. James Cook, MSN, FNP-C with Avance Care Mallard Creek is sharing more with us about the significance of prostate cancer and the pivotal role that awareness plays in saving lives.

Understanding Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer develops in the prostate gland, a small walnut-shaped organ that lies below the bladder, and between the base of the penis and the rectum. The prostate gland is a reproductive organ found in men that plays a role in producing seminal fluid. While the majority of prostate cancers grow slowly and remain confined to the prostate, some can be aggressive and spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. That is why understanding the risk factors, symptoms, and available screening methods is crucial.

The Importance of Early Detection

Early detection matters when it comes to prostate cancer. In its early stages, prostate cancer often presents with no symptoms or only mild ones. By the time noticeable symptoms occur, the cancer might have already progressed. This is why having a conversation with your health care provider is important to determine your risks factors for developing prostate cancer and the need for screening.

Prostate Screening: Your Best Defense

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and digital rectal exams (DRE) are the two primary methods of prostate cancer screening.

PSA Testing

PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland. Elevated PSA levels can indicate the presence of prostate cancer. Other factors such as age, infection, or inflammation can also cause elevated levels. While PSA testing is not a definitive diagnostic tool, it serves as an important indicator for further investigation.

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

A DRE involves a health care provider using a gloved finger to feel the prostate through the rectum. This physical examination is used to help detect abnormalities in the prostate’s size, shape, and texture.

Who Should Consider Prostate Screening?

Prostate cancer primarily affects older men, and the risk increases with age. Men with a family history of prostate cancer or certain genetic mutations are also at higher risk. However, it is important to note that informed discussions with your healthcare provider about when to start screening and how often to do so should start around age 45.

Navigating the Decision to Screen

The decision to undergo prostate cancer screening is highly personal and should involve a thorough discussion with your primary care provider. They can provide insight into your individual risk profile, help you understand the benefits and limitations of screening, and guide you toward making an informed choice.

Taking Action: Spread the Word

Prostate cancer awareness is not confined to medical offices. Awareness should extend to homes, communities, and workplaces. Here’s how you can contribute:

Educate Yourself and Others

Stay informed about prostate health, screening guidelines, and risk factors. Share your knowledge with friends, family, and colleagues.

Participate in Awareness Campaigns

Join local and national prostate cancer awareness campaigns. These initiatives often host events, workshops, and seminars to share information and provide resources.

Encourage Honest Conversations

Break the silence surrounding prostate health. Encourage open discussions among men, helping to eliminate embarrassment and foster a sense of unity in facing this challenge.

Empowering You Through Knowledge

Avance Care stands as your partner in promoting prostate cancer awareness and early detection. By understanding the significance of screening, we empower you to take control of your health journey. Together, we can create a world where prostate cancer is detected early and treated effectively. Join us in spreading awareness and making a lasting impact on men’s health.

Remember, your health is your greatest wealth!

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