September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month/October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
EARLY SCREENING SAVES LIVES
Prostate Cancer is the second most common form of cancer affecting American men after skin cancer. Though this disease afflicts only males and is a slow growing cancer, approximately 28,000 men die from this disease every year. This is why proactive screening is so vitally important. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and the ideal time to take a closer look at this menacing cancer. We called upon Dr. Gregory Ochsner, a leading Chester County radiation oncologist from Comprehensive Cancer Care in Exton.
What Are The Causes And Risk Factors Of Prostate Cancer?
Age: In the United States, most men with prostate cancer are older than 65 years of age; it is rare in men younger than 45. Men age 75 years and older have a one in nine chance of developing the disease.
Race: For unknown reasons, prostate cancer is more common among African-American men than white men. African-American men are twice as likely to die of the disease.
Family History: Men with close family members who have had prostate cancer are at higher risk, especially if their relatives were young at diagnosis.
Body Weight: The risk of dying of prostate cancer increases with body weight.
Diet: Red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to increase the risk of prostate cancer. A diet low in fruits and vegetables also increase the risk.
What Are The Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer?
A man with prostate cancer may not have any symptoms. Common symptoms include:
- Urinary problems (inability to urinate or difficulty st arting or stopping the urine flow, frequent urination especially at night, or pain or burning during urination.)
- Difficulty having or keeping an erection
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Frequent pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
What Are Some Of The Treatment Options For Prostate Cancer?
The treatment options for prostate cancer depend in part on your age, your general health and whether the tumor has spread. For tumors that are still inside the prostate, radiation therapy and a surgery called radical prostatectomy are common treatment options. “Watchful waiting” is also a treatment option. In this approach, no treatment is given unless the tumor gets bigger. Tumors that have grown beyond the edge of the prostate can be cured with radiation with hormone therapy.
For more information go to www.ExtonROC.com.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
EDUCATION IS EMPOWERMENT
About 12% (1 in 8 women) in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. For women, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer. While men do develop breast cancer, less than 1% of all new breast cancer cases happen in men. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the ideal time to take a closer look at this menacing cancer.
American Cancer Society; Cancer Facts and Figures 2011
In 2011, it is estimated that among U.S. women:
- There will be 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer (includes new cases of primary breast cancer among survivors, but not recurrence of original breast cancer among survivors)
- There will be 39,520 breast cancer deaths
Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. In 2011, it is estimated that among U.S. men:
- There will be 2,140 new cases of breast cancer
- There will be 450 breast cancer deaths
What Are The Causes And Risk Factors Of Breast Cancer?
age: As with many other diseases, your risk of breast cancer goes up as you get older. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 out of 8 invasive breast cancers develop in women younger than 45. About 2 out of 3 invasive breast cancers are found in women 55 or older.
Race: White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African American, Hispanic, and Asian women.
Family History: Women with close relatives who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher risk of developing the disease. If you’ve had one first-degree female relative (sister, mother, daughter) diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk is doubled. If two first-degree relatives have been diagnosed, your risk is 5 times higher than average.
Body Weight: Overweight and obese women — defined as having a BMI (body mass index) over 25 — have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause.
Diet: Research consistently shows that drinking alcoholic beverages — beer, wine, and liquor — increases a woman’s risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer symptoms vary widely: from lumps to swelling to skin changes or new pain in one spot that doesn’t disappear. Many breast cancers have no obvious symptoms at all. Symptoms that are similar to those of breast cancer may be the result of non-cancerous conditions like infection or a cyst.
Early Detection Methods
Mammography screening remains the best available method to detect breast cancer early. However, no medical test is always 100 percent accurate, and mammography is no exception. Continued research and enhancements are under way to improve the technology to lead to better accuracy and to create new technologies.
It is important for women to practice the elements of good breast health. It is suggested that women:
- Obtain regular mammography screening starting at the age of 40
- Obtain annual clinical breast exams
- Perform monthly breast self-exams
- Obtain a risk assessment from a physician
What Are Some Of The Treatment Options For Breast Cancer?
In recent years, there’s been an explosion of life-saving treatment advances against breast cancer, bringing new hope and excitement. Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is a highly targeted, highly effective way to destroy cancer cells in the breast that may stick around after surgery. Radiation can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence by about 70%. Despite what many people fear, radiation therapy is relatively easy to tolerate and its side effects are limited to the treated area.