Although September is officially designated as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (blue month), every month should be recognized for prostate cancer awareness.
Be aware that prostate cancer is for the most part without symptoms and a silent disease.
Be aware that prostate cancer deaths are the second leading cause of male cancer deaths after lung cancer. Furthermore, NOT ALL prostate cancers are slow growing or only found in the elderly.
Be aware that some men have an increased risk for prostate cancer especially those of African heritage or those men with a family history of prostate cancer.
Be aware that the digital rectal examination (DRE) or the rectal exam, only has about a 50% accuracy in picking up a prostate cancer.
Be aware that some 15-20% of all men with a NORMAL PSA of 4ng/ml or less have significant prostate cancer and this cancer will only be identified by measuring the FREE PSA as well as the total PSA in order to determine the %free PSA and your estimated probable risk for having prostate cancer.
Be aware that there are four classes of drugs ( STATINS, NSAIDS, THIAZIDES and 5 alpha reductase inhibitors) that will lower your PSA WITHOUT possible protective benefits and give you a false sense of security, underscoring the need to determine your FREE PSA.
Be aware that ONLY a well-conducted prostate biopsy can determine the presence of prostate cancer and NOT an MRI.
Be aware that there are many subjective issues in reading your prostate biopsy slides and validation of your pathology by a reference laboratory is strongly recommended.
Be aware that early prostate cancer is curable
Be aware that a prostate cancer diagnosis does NOT constitute an emergency.
Be aware of ALL of your treatment options for your particular cancer as NOT ALL prostate cancers are the same.
Be aware that that the SURVIVAL benefits of the four treatment options for LOCALIZED prostate cancer, HIFU, Cryoablation, ALL radiation options (including brachytherapy and proton beam) and the radical surgical/robotic options are SIMILAR, but their COMPLICATIONS are significantly different.
Be aware that the complications of prostate cancer treatment especially those of impotence and urinary incontinence (limp and leaking) AFFECT both YOU and YOUR PARTNER.
Be aware that you and your wife/partner need to EMPOWER yourself with knowledge as knowledge is king. Get several opinions and check prostate cancer resource websites like www.hifurx.com, particularly about prostate cancer treatment options and articles about prostate cancer referencing “The good, the bad and the ugly” in the prostate cancer treatment arena.