The 40s and 50s can be a unique and potentially stressful age range for many men. This is a stretch when the pressures of career, family and financials can create a trifecta of anxiety. When under this level of stress, it can be easy to justify letting one’s health slide for a while. While understandable, it’s equally important to be aware these years are also a risk period for developing prostate cancer.

Equal Opportunity

Prostate cancer does not discriminate and all men have the potential for developing the disease. Vigilance comes in the form of regular check-ups with a gastroenterologist. A gastroenterologist studies the function of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gallbladder, liver, colon and rectum. Prostate health also falls into this specialty because of the location of the prostate gland at the base of the urinary bladder in front of the lower rectum.

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

  • Family History
  • Diet
  • Exposure to Chemicals
  • Aging
  • Race
  • Hormones

Age

The risk of prostate cancer increases with age. Many organizations such as ZEROcancer.org and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommend men begin prostate exams around age 40. Because the majority diagnosed with prostate cancer are over 50, it is believed exams starting in the 40s can increase survival odds through early detection.

Family History

Like other forms of cancer, there is a yet-unknown genetic component to the risk of prostate cancer. Research is now working to identify if gene mutations place men at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer. Therefore, it’s critical to share a family history with your gastroenterologist. This information may influence if annual prostate exams should begin prior to the age of 40.

Race

For unknown reasons, prostate cancer has a greater effect on African-American men who are 1.7 times more likely to get prostate cancer and 2.3 times more likely to die from the disease, according to zerocancer.org.

Chemical Exposure

Men exposed to defoliants, chemicals used to remove leaves from trees and plants, have an increased risk of prostate cancer. This is prevalent in those who served in the Vietnam and Korea wars who were regularly exposed to defoliants like Agent Orange. Farmers using defoliants and other pesticides are also at higher risk as are individuals in contact with metal cadmium through welding, battery manufacturing and rubber work.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

  • Weak, variable or dribbling urine stream
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Frequent or sudden urge to urinate
  • Interrupted sleep to urinate
  • Lower back pain
  • Bone pain

Awareness is Power

One of the smartest ways to combat the disease is awareness and taking the necessary steps to stay in front of health issues. Stress regulation, a healthy diet, regular exercise and annual prostate exams are not only a way to stay healthy but also a way to remain in control of an important aspect of life. Talk to your primary care doctor about scheduling an exam with a gastroenterologist. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call (307) 233-2700 and ask to speak to one of our GI Physicians at the Gastroenterology Associates located at 1441 Wilkins Circle, Casper WY 82601. Our physicians include:

  • Jeffrey Cloud, MD
  • Raoul Joubran, MD
  • Kent Katz, MD
  • Phillip Krmpotich, MD

Remember, you always have a choice in your healthcare. Summit Medical Center offers orthopaedics; ear, nose and throat; pediatrics, gastrointestinal; primary care; general surgery, pulmonary; and plastic surgery to the Casper, Wyoming, area. With cost-competitive, high-quality medical care and superior patient service, Summit Medical Center is changing the delivery of healthcare in Casper and beyond.

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