Dad might be a subscriber to the if-it’s-not-broke-then-don’t-fix-it philosophy when it comes to staying healthy, but medical officials stress an ounce of prevention as the perfect gift for this Father’s Day.
National Men’s Health Week, marked annually in the days preceding Father’s Day, is a chance to shift the spotlight onto men’s medical issues and stresses the importance of potentially life-saving screenings that sometimes get relegated to the back burner.
Among the top contenders for men’s maladies, prostate cancer remains one of the most common cancers among men and the second leading cause of male cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society, and a disease where detection can make all the difference.
“Prostate cancer affects everyone, not just the patient,” said Greg Broy, spokesman with the cancer society in Kentucky, in a news release.
“June is the perfect time to talk to the special men in your life about this disease and how to prevent it. By speaking to a physician, men can learn more about available screenings and actively choose to have the tests.”
Cancer society reports estimate about 238,590 American men — including 3,130 Kentuckians — will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year alone. About 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Researchers have yet to agree upon the factors that can influence development of the disease. However, it’s generally accepted that older men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to be at risk.
Dr. Winston Chua, medical oncologist with the Oncology Associates of West Kentucky, said screening for prostate cancer usually begins with the PSA blood test, and new guidelines narrow the range of men recommended to receive the testing.
The American Urological Association modified standards earlier in 2013 to exclude men under 40 years of age from taking the PSA test, but encouraged men in the 55-69 age group to consult with a physician about the test. The AUA recommended taking the test once every two years while in the age bracket.
“The new thing to consider with prostate cancer are these screening guidelines, and people should just be aware of the changes,” Chua said.
Although prostate cancer can be deadly, Chua said the five year survival rate of prostate cancer climbs to almost 100 percent should the cancer be caught before it spreads from the prostate.
Contact Will Pinkston, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676 or follow @WCPinkston on Twitter.