The taboo associated with discussing and potentially learning more about anything related to sex, kept prostate cancer talks tucked deep within the closet for many years. Considering its proximity to a man’s ego, sexual problems, especially ones that affect sexual endurance and libido, find no mention in discussions within couples or friends.
Bringing up the topic could either break a “happy” party or lead to a discussion that hinges on archaic assumptions and misconceptions. The interpretation of what actually constitutes prostate cancer symptoms can be amusing at times but potentially serious and dangerous, considering its ramifications.
Add to this curious mix, the wide variety of symptoms (and also the sheer lack of it in most cases) that overlap imbalances in other organs and you have a real diagnostic problem at hand. Most people mistake the signs as being natural as they age or associated with other problems. Meeting your family physician and being aware of slight variations can lead to early detection, treatment and cure.
8 Myths About Prostate Cancer You Always Believed:
Let’s get into “busting” mode on some popular myths surrounding Prostate Cancer:
Myth #1 – Prostate cancer is a common, slow growing and not fatal.
Yes with growing research and unearthing of the different variants of prostate cancer, the cancer is gaining more exposure every passing day. That it is the second most fatal cancer, amongst men in the US after lung cancer, makes it something that should get your attention and push you to gain some more insight about.
Some types of prostate cancers can be very aggressive and approach for treatment depends upon how your physician perceives the “aggressiveness” threat, your age and health status. Patients need to understand the complexity of this disease and make treatment decisions that are right for them in consultation with a trusted medical professional. Detected late this can prove fatal.
Myth #2 – Prostate cancer isn’t a concern till you reach 65.
Though the figures are stacked against >65 years old men, still 35% of those diagnosed contract this before they reach there. Risk increases with age: 1 in 10,000 men under age 40, 1 in 38 for ages 40-59, and 1 in 15 for ages 60-69. Apart from age your race, family history, physical health and lifestyle—even geographic location—are all factors that can increase your likelihood of developing prostate cancer. So if you have reached 40, its better to get yourself tested.
Myth #3 – I don’t have symptoms so I am not at risk.
Considered to be the most asymptomatic cancers in oncology, prostate cancer is a silent cancer. Given the ignorance and lack of openness most times symptoms are not reported till it’s too late. Common symptoms are frequent urination urge, difficulty starting or stopping urination, weak or interrupted flow of urination, painful or burning urination, difficulty having an erection, painful ejaculation, blood in the urine or semen, or frequent pain and stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs. Take a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test for prostate cancer screening and don’t wait for these symptoms to warn you. If you have the symptoms and the PSA doesn’t prove anything, insist on further tests to eliminate the possibility of cancer.
Myth #4 –PSA levels are an indicator of prostate cancer risk.
The PSA tests measures levels of prostate-specific antigen in the prostate, and not specifically cancer. Elevated PSA levels could be caused by prostate cancer but other conditions such as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) or prostatitis (inflammation or infection of the prostate) or even riding a bicycle can cause PSA levels to shoot up. On the other side, lower PSA levels (diluted PSA due to larger blood volumes) can be found in overweight or obese with prostate cancer.
If your symptoms suggest something amiss conduct a biopsy to know for sure.
Myth #5 – Vasectomies cause prostate cancer.
Numerous studies have proved that there is no link between undergoing a Vasectomy and increase in your risk of contracting prostate cancer. This myth has evolved due to more detection of prostate cancer happening during routine checks of the prostate, physicians do before a vasectomy. So it doesn’t lead to it but definitely helps detect it.
Myth #6 – Prostate cancer treatment causes impotence and can kill your sex life.
Surgery or radiation have some telling side effects like erectile dysfunction (ED) but it is not a given and most men recover from these early effects. In early stage cancers, modern surgical procedures (both open and robotic-minimal invasive) employ nerve sparing surgical procedures ensuring lower incidences of ED. Natural therapies and aids help your body recover from post surgery side effects and complaints. Check with your surgeon about the possible side effects and choose the treatment (and an experienced surgeon) that gives you a comfort level on the potential risk.
Myth #7 – Prostate cancer is contagious.
Prostate Cancer risk is higher if you have a family history but cancer is not infectious or communicable.
Myth #8: Am at a lower risk if there is no hereditary evidence.
A family history of prostate cancer doubles a man’s odds of being diagnosed with an increased risk if the cancer was diagnosed in a family member at a younger age (less than 55 years old), or if it affected three or more family members. But still 1 out of 6 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. So don’t rely on your good genes to get you through this.
Know it to Cure it:
Knowledge is the first step in dealing effectively with prostate cancer and eliminating false notions and assumptions. Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, such as walking 30 minutes a day, can help reduce the risk of getting prostate cancer. Unfortunately, even if you do, your healthier lifestyle will help cope with the rigors of the treatment and help recover faster.
So if you are 40, go for the required scans and avoid complications later.