As we begin this New Year we are given a clean slate of sorts, an opportunity to start again and make those choices that are best for our lives and our health. Many people will make a new commitment to taking care of themselves, as well as a commitment to staying ahead of any medical conditions by having the appropriate and recommended screenings by their doctors. For men, regular screenings for prostate cancer are important for catching any potential evidence of disease early. With early treatment, prostate cancer is easily treated. And the fact that there are few if any symptoms for prostate cancer, especially in the earlier stages, makes screening that much more important.
But, as with anything else, preventative care for prostate cancer packs the biggest punch in the fight against cancer. When we understand our risk factors for potentially developing disease, we can do our part to eliminate as much of the risk as possible.
So, in this New Year, why not make a commitment to identifying your risk for prostate cancer and eliminating as much of that risk as possible?
What can you do?
It’s important to identify your risk factors so that you can have an open dialogue with your doctor. Here are some of the risk factors of prostate cancer:
- Age. No, there’s nothing that you can do about your age. But it’s important to know that your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age. It’s very rare for men under the age of 40 to receive a diagnosis of prorate cancer, but once you are 50, your risk has increased dramatically.
- Smoking. One of the most important things you can do to decrease your risk of any type of cancer including prostate cancer is to quit smoking immediately.
- Diet and obesity. A diet high in fat and red meat can result in an increased risk of prostate cancer as can increased body weight. One of the other important things that men can do to decrease their risk of cancer including prostate cancer is to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables and to get to – and stay at – a healthy weight.
A personal or family history of prostate cancer lends greater risk for developing the disease yourself. Take special care to be screened on a regular basis if you have a family member who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.