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Prostate cancer awareness

4 tips to stay informed and minimize risk

September is prostate cancer awareness month, a monthlong effort to educate men, young and old, about one of the more pressing men's health concerns. Prostate cancer is common, but, that means from prevention to treatment to support, there is a wide network of information and resources available. To help men stay informed, we've created four crucial tips to consider—especially for those over the age of 50.

Tip 1: Being proactive is the best defense

As we age, our bodies require more time and attention. That can be easier said than done—between work and keeping up with grandkids, it's not uncommon to push "me time" low on the priority list. 

But, you don't have to ignore your family to ensure that you stay healthy. Just like you make an effort to eat more salads and less burgers, and take a weekly trip to the gym, scheduling regular check-ins with your doctor are crucial for maintaining your health as you get older.

Tip 2: You are not alone

1 in 9 men will be affected by prostate cancer in their lifetime. It's a common disease, but that also means that doctors are skilled at preventing, identifying and treating it. There are also numerous support groups for those who are affected by the disease.

The most important thing to remember is that others have gone through what you're going through, whether it's a screening, a biopsy, or treatment. Don't be afraid to ask for advice from a friend or colleague.

Tip 3: Don't put off getting checked

A general rule of thumb with most cancers is that the earlier it's detected, the better chance of a positive outcome. With prostate cancer, that's especially true. Although most men begin regular screenings in their 50s, if you're in your 40s it's not too early to talk to your doctor about a screening.

And remember, one screening when you turn 50 isn't enough. You should return to your doctor for a screening every 2-3 years to increase the likelihood of catching any irregularities as soon as they arise.



Tip 4: Screenings are quick and easy

Peace of mind is worth an hour of your time, right? A screening for prostate cancer typically consists of a quick physical exam and a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test that requires a blood sample for lab analysis.

It's important to get checked, because while a high level of PSA in the blood does not mean you have prostate cancer, it does mean you're at increased risk and should be screened more frequently. Speak to your doctor and find out whether a screening is right for you.

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