Prostate cancer awareness; what you need to know

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September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and this kind of cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death of men in the United States.

However if the cancer is diagnosed early, the chances of beating the disease is very high. Dr. Brian Lane, Chief of Urology for Spectrum Health, talked about the signs of prostate cancer and the importance of screening tests.

Dr. Lanes says that prostate cancers mostly grow at a slow pace, but sometimes it can grow quickly and need to seek treatment right away. When the cancer gets worse, it can cause symptoms such as:

  • Problems urinating
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hip, back and chest pain
  • Numbness or weakness in the legs and feet
  • Bone pain in the hip, back, etc.

There are two kinds of tests that are used to screen for prostate cancer, a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and a Prostate Specific Antigen test (PSA.)

A DRE is when a doctor or nurse inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to estimate the size of the prostate and feel for lumps or other abnormalities. The other test measures the level of PSA in the blood, where PSA is a substance made by the prostate.

Dr. Lane says that if you have a family history of prostate cancer or if you're African-American, you're considered a high risk individual and should consider getting tested earlier and more frequently for the cancer.

Should you be diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor can help you find current and in-depth information for the right kind of treatment.

The Urologic Oncology Clinic is located in the Spectrum Health Cancer Center at 145 Michigan Street Northeast. If you've been diagnosed with cancer and would like a second opinion or consultation, call 1-855-743-2623.

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