September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
By Diego Flammini
Men of a certain age may want to make an appointment with their health care provider for a prostate cancer screening.
The average age of a Canadian farmer is 56, which puts them in the age bracket for prostate cancer tests, says Apiramy Jeyapalan, a senior policy specialist with the Canadian Cancer Society.
“The risk of prostate cancer increases with age,” she told Farms.com. “Most of the time it happens after the age of 50 and it’s most often diagnosed in men in their 60s.”
Men whose fathers or brothers had prostate cancer, and members of the Black community, are at a higher risk and should begin testing around the age of 45, Jeyapalan added.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month across Canada.
Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Canadian men and is the third leading cause of death from cancer in Canadian men.
One in eight men in Canada will develop prostate cancer, and one in 29 will die from it, the Canadian Cancer Society says.
A reason testing and early detection is important is because early prostate cancer usually doesn’t come with symptoms.
It’s when the cancer progresses that symptoms occur, Jeyapalan said.
“As it grows, people may have problems urinating, or have blood in their urine or semen” she said. “If someone is experiencing those kinds of symptoms, it’s really important to see a health care provider.”
Prostate cancer testing can be a two-prong approach.
In addition to a digital rectal exam, a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is used to determine PSA levels.
A normal PSA level is around 4 ng (nanograms)/mL of blood.
When the positive or negative test results come back, doctors will go over the potential next steps.
Men who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer continue to undergo PSA testing to help doctors monitor their PSA levels.
Early testing is also important for survivability.
If prostate cancer is caught early, men have a greater chance of beating it.
“When prostate cancer is detected early, close to 100 per cent of men will survive five years or more,” she said.
Members of the ag community are not immune to prostate cancer.
Former Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart received a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2014.
Anyone looking for more information about prostate cancer can visit the Canadian Cancer Society website.
In addition, a mobile resource is available for men in Alberta,
The Prostate Cancer Centre’s Man Van is the country’s first and only mobile health clinic offering free PSA blood testing.
Visit the organization’s website to find out where the van is going to be next.