Pennsylvania Department of Health Cancer Prevention Consultant Kaye Weiss, RN, BSN, MEd, and J.C. Blair Urologist Dr. Spencer Long presented a program for the community to learn more about prevention, screening and the importance of early detection of prostate cancer. For more information about prostate cancer screening and treatment, call Dr. Spencer Long’s Office at (814) 643-8424.
Area Men Share Experiences and Questions about Prostate Cancer
In recognition of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, J.C. Blair Medical Services recently sponsored a “Lunch-n-Learn” where those in attendance learned more about prevention, screening and the importance of early detection of prostate cancer from area experts and shared personal experiences and questions.
Pennsylvania Department of Health Cancer Prevention Consultant Kaye Weiss, RN, BSN, MEd, presented the program hosted by J.C. Blair Urologist Spencer Long, M.D. Weiss indicated that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. She presented statistics that showed Huntingdon County has a lower incidence rate of prostate cancer than the state of Pennsylvania and surrounding counties and a lower mortality rate than Pennsylvania but higher mortality rate than some surrounding counties.
Weiss discussed the risk factors for prostate cancer which include age, family history, race and a diet high in fat. African American men have a higher risk of getting and dying from prostate cancer than other men. Weiss noted factors that protect men from prostate cancer are healthy lifestyles that include a diet high in fruits and vegetables, exercise, and rest, and avoiding addictive substances such as tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Weiss also noted the importance of screening.
Weiss described the symptoms of prostate cancer which include difficulty starting or stopping urine flow, having to rush to the toilet to urinate, weak urine flow, pain or burning when urinating, need to urinate frequently (especially at night), blood in urine or semen, difficulty getting an erection, feeling that the bladder does not empty completely, and frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, pelvis, or upper thighs.
Screening for prostate cancer should begin at age 50, even if no symptoms are noticed. African American males and others at high risk should start screening for prostate cancer at age 40 or 45. Weiss recommended that men talk with their doctor about their personal risk factors to help decide if they should get tested sooner. The tests for a prostate screening include a Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). If a test result is abnormal, additional tests and physical exams will be suggested to confirm or rule out prostate cancer.
Weiss touched briefly on treatment options for prostate cancer which include surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, implant radiation and watchful waiting, and, again, stressed the importance of men talking with their doctor about which option is right for them. She emphasized that the earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival.
After Weiss’s presentation, the audience was invited to ask questions and several men in attendance shared their experiences with prostate cancer while others raised questions for Weiss and host physician Urologist Spencer Long, M.D.
More information about prostate cancer is available from the Pennsylvania Department of Health Cancer Education Network at www.PACancerEducationNetwork.com, the National Cancer Institutes’ Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) or at www.cancer.gov, or by calling Dr. Long’s office at (814) 643-8424.