Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in men, affecting one in six in their lifetimes, according to the National Institute of Health. Also a fact: the risk of developing prostate cancer increases over sixfold between men ages 40 – 59, and those 60 – 79. African-American men and males who have a family history of prostate cancer are considered to be more at risk than others.
But there is promising news: the actual number of prostate cancer deaths has decreased. From 1990 to 1996 alone, the percentage of fatalities dropped from 53 to just under 28. Due to more men getting tested and undergoing earlier diagnoses, treatment is begun earlier than ever, often leading to positive results.
There are currently two tests that screen for prostate cancer: the PSA blood test which looks for antigens; and the digital rectal exam, during which a doctor uses his finger to search for inconsistencies on the prostate surface. The latter is sometimes performed in conjunction with the former.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men learn what they can about screening risks and benefits, and discuss the information with their physician. These conversations should happen between the ages of 40 – 50, depending on one’s risk. The ACS goes on to state that while screening is available to those who would like it, it is not always a perfect practice. Tests are not yet accurate enough to detect whether a cancer is dangerously aggressive, or very slow-moving to the point of never threatening to cause a problem. In some instances, this is something to think about, as treatments can cause life-altering issues (urinary, bowel, sexual) that one should be aware of.
In any case, however, knowledge is power. So if your elderly dad has not yet been screened for prostate cancer, become informed and have a discussion with him weighing the benefits of doing so.
There is so much to think about when entering the later stages of life. If you are considering elder care options, we at 805Aging can help. Our professional staff specializes in assisting you to choose the right kind of care for your loved one.
We conduct regular check-ins when you are unable to do so. 805Aging also provides oversight and detailed feedback to the family to keep your loved one safe and well-cared for day or night, weekday or weekend, holiday and every day.
We have the resources. We can hold your hand. We can guide you. Your peace of mind is our main goal, and is well assured. To find out more, call us at 805-750-4755 or visit our website and sign up for our monthly newsletter: www.805Aging.com.
There is no manual on how to take care of your parents as they age. They had a baby book when you were young. You have us. -Amy