Prostate Health: What you know can help you

Detecting and preventing cancer and other prostate diseases

Dr Jarrett

It’s shaped like a walnut, is about 1.2 inches across, and surrounds part of the urethra. The prostate, located below the bladder and in front of the bowel, is part of the male reproductive system. And other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of the disease among American men. So common, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), that one out of every six men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime.

And yet, more than 2.5 million men in the United States who’ve had prostate cancer are alive today.1  Proof positive that early detection and adjustments in lifestyle and diet can improve your odds of spotting, treating or avoiding prostate cancer. The same is true of other prevalent prostate diseases, whose prominent symptoms are clues to identifying their onset.

Prostate Warning Signs, 101

There are four primary prostate disorders: prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatodynia and prostate cancer.2  Each of them may include one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Discomfort when urinating
  • Needing to urinate suddenly
  • Waking up frequently to urinate
  • Difficulty when starting to urinate
  • Slow flow and difficulty stopping
  • Reduced ability to get an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Decreased libido

In typical manly fashion, many guys often write these off as middle-age maladies and avoid treatment. “Men over 50 frequently attribute these ailments to aging,” says Thomas W. Jarrett, MD, Chairman of Urology, The George Washington University Hospital. “In reality, these could be warning signs, and should not be taken lightly.”

And while you’re having that consultation, let your doctor know if prostate cancer runs in the family; because men whose fathers or brothers have had prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease. Talk with your doctor about when to start screening for cancer and other prostate diseases.

Proactive prostate health. How you can help yourself.

It’s easy to forget about your prostate until it’s too late. The good news is that a proactive approach may yield positive results to keeping your prostate healthy. Here are some recommendations from Men’s Health magazine:

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, watermelons, pink grapefruits, guava and papaya contain lycopene, an antioxidant. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale also are good choices.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
  3. Incorporate more soy in your diet. Take a second look at tofu, soy nuts, soymilk or powdered soy mixes.
  4. Don’t smoke. Good advice for any health regimen.
  5. Beginning at age 50, talk to your healthcare professional about whether you should have a PSA blood test and digital rectal exam annually. Men at high risk, such as African American men or men with a strong family history of prostate cancer, should start at age 45, according to the American Cancer Society.

1. The American Cancer Society, Key Statistics about Prostate Cancer, September 2012
2. Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

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Prostate Cancer

FREEMen between the ages of 40 and 70, without a history of prostate cancer, can get a FREE prostate exam, including a digital rectal exam and Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test.

Date: THIRD Friday of every month
Time: 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Location: MFA Ambulatory Care Center
22nd and I Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Limited availability. To schedule an appointment, call 202-741-3106.

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The Urology Department at The George Washington University Hospital provides comprehensive treatment for adult men and women with disorders of the urinary and reproductive systems, including treatment of prostate cancer, bladder cancer, testicular cancer and pelvic floor disorders.

Learn more >

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The George Washington University Hospital is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.          

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