September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Ben Cranfill, M.D., an urologist with Verde Valley Medical Clinic − Urology in Cottonwood, answers some common questions about prostate cancer and screenings.
Q: What is the prostate?
A: The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. It creates fluid for semen transportation and maintenance.
Q: When should men begin prostate cancer screenings?
A: For most men, screenings should begin at age 50. If a patient is African American or has a family history of prostate cancer, screenings should begin at age 45.
Q: What should a man expect during a prostate cancer screening?
A: A blood draw and a digital rectal exam to examine the prostate and determine prostate-specific antigens, or PSAs.
Q: Who can perform a prostate cancer screening?
A: Your primary care provider or urologist.
Q: What are risk factors for prostate cancer?
A: Age, family history; race − for example, rates of prostate cancer are higher in African Americans − and poor lifestyle. Smoking, or a high-fat diet, increases a man’s risk.
Q: What are symptoms of prostate cancer?
A: Early-stage prostate cancer has no symptoms. Symptoms such as back or hip pain usually mean the cancer has spread to other areas. Screenings are the best way to detect prostate cancer early.
Q: How is prostate cancer successfully treated?
A: Prostate cancer can be treated and cured if found early. Treatment options include surgery, radiation and hormone therapy. Not all prostate cancer has to be treated. Some cases can simply be monitored unless or until follow-up is necessary. Patients may pass away with prostate cancer because it is common in men as they age, but patients do not necessarily pass away as a result of prostate cancer.
Get a free screening in Cottonwood
4-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21 − walk-ins available from 4-6 p.m.
Cardiac Rehabilitation Room at Verde Valley Medical Center
269 S. Candy Lane, Cottonwood
To schedule an appointment, call 928-204-4150