The Arizona Department of Health Services observed National Men’s Health Week, June 11-15, with a special focus on prostate cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer death among men.
A special luncheon took place at the Audi Suite Lounge at Chase Field, hosted by the Arizona Department of Health Services and featuring guest speaker Derrick Hall, president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Hall was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. Following successful surgery to remove his prostate, Hall is now cancer-free and has become an advocate for cancer-fighting charities while continuing to speak publicly about the health challenge he has had to face. He attributes his positive outcome to early detection and screening.
After Hall spoke, there was a panel discussion with Autumn Barber, a prostate cancer advocate; Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health; urologist Ali Borhan, M.D.; and radiation oncologist Thomas Canty, M.D.
The panel talked about how prostate cancer is a sensitive topic and something men never discuss openly. They encouraged the men attending the luncheon to find a physician whom they trust to discuss this serious topic.
Men should be screened for prostate cancer on a regular basis. The doctors reviewed the steps for diagnosing and treating prostate cancer, including surgery and radiation treatments. They also mentioned that unfortunately many men wait until the last minute to be screened, and those who are diagnosed with prostate cancer don’t have a chance to learn about the disease because they have to go straight into surgery.
Prostate Cancer Facts
The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. A healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut. If the prostate grows too large, due to a non-cancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate), it squeezes the urethra. This may slow or stop the flow of urine from the bladder, making urination difficult. Common symptoms include a weak flow of urine or urine flow that starts and stops.
The risk of prostate cancer increases as men get older. Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but incidence rises significantly after age 50. Almost two out of three prostate cancers are found in men over age 65. There are often no warning symptoms, which is one reason why prostate cancer screening is so important. And if it’s found early, prostate cancer can be successfully treated.
Prostate cancer symptoms may include pain or burning during urination; blood in the urine; frequent pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs; difficulty having an erection; and needing to urinate all the time, especially at night.
Most often, these symptoms are not related to cancer. They may be due to BPH (enlarged prostate) or another health problem. If you have any of these symptoms, you should tell your doctor so they can be diagnosed and treated.
African Americans have an increased incidence of prostate cancer, develop more aggressive cancer, and are more likely to die from prostate cancer than men of other races.