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Local Urologist Recommends Prostate Cancer Screening for Men 55 to 70

March 04, 2014

 Learn about your risk for prostate cancer at free seminar on prostate health

As part of a healthy lifestyle, every man should pay attention to prostate health, especially as he grows older. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, second only to skin cancer.

In 2014, more than 230,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to American Cancer Society ACS) estimates. The disease is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About one man in every 36 will die of prostate cancer.

The good news is, if the condition is identified early, the chances for successful treatment and survival are much better. Currently, more than 2 million American men are prostate cancer survivors, the ACS reports.

"Men often say 'I'm not having any symptoms, so why should I be screened?' But, one of the problems with prostate cancer is that most men donÕt experience symptoms during the early stages," said Mark Saleh, M.D., a board certified urologist with Washington Township Medical Foundation. Dr. Saleh is also on the medical staff at Washington Hospital. "It's important to remember that having symptoms does not necessarily correlate with the presence or absence of cancer."

"That's why men should get screened for the disease according to recommended guidelines," he continued. "Early identification gives us more treatment options and increases the chances that treatment will be successful."

Free seminar

Dr. Saleh will be the featured speaker at a free seminar about "Prostate Health & Prostate Cancer" on Tuesday, March 18 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The class will be in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium of the Washington West Building, 2500 Mowry Ave. in Fremont.

At the seminar, you can learn about your risk for prostate cancer, and Dr. Saleh will also talk about screening, diagnosis and treatment. To reserve your spot, go online to www.whhs.com, click on Community Connection and select ÓCommunity Seminars, Health Classes and Events,Ó or call (800) 963-7070.

The American Urological Association (AUA) recommends men between the ages of 55 and 70 who are at average risk for prostate cancer should be screened by having a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test every other year. The test measures a manÕs blood for the level of PSA, a substance made by the prostate. In general, the higher the PSA level, the more likely the man has some problem with his prostate.

"Although some people have questioned the advisability of regular screenings, the AUA continues to recommend it, and there is no alternative screening mechanism," added Dr. Saleh. "A man should follow these recommendations if he is generally healthy and has at least a 10-year life expectancy."

A man is at high risk for prostate cancer if he has a family history of the disease or is of African American decent. In that case, he should talk with his doctor about how often and at what age he should be screened.

Common cause of prostate problems
Although men should be vigilant about screening for prostate cancer according to the recommendations, cancer is not the chief cause of prostate-related problems. The most common reason is a condition called BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).

About the size and shape of a walnut, the prostate gland is part of a man's reproductive system. It is located below the bladder and surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. The prostate can continue to grow throughout a man's life.

As the prostate gets larger, it often squeezes the urethra. This can cause the tube to narrow, leading to more frequent urination, a weak urinary stream, and an inability to empty the bladder. This enlargement is referred to as BPH.

The condition can't be prevented, but it usually doesn't cause problems in men younger than 40. Eight out of every 10 men will develop an enlarged prostate, and about one-third will have bothersome symptoms that may affect their quality of life.

"Symptoms of BPH are fairly common and, if they negatively impact a man's quality of life, the condition can usually be treated effectively with laser surgery," reported Dr. Saleh.

Learn more.

To learn more about prostate cancer and screening, go to www.urologyhealth.org, the website of the Urology Care Foundation, the official foundation of the American Urology Association. Click on "Urology A-Z."

For more information about Washington Township Medical Foundation, go to www.mywtmf.com. To learn more about Washington Hospital and its series of free community seminars, visit www.whhs.com, click on "Community Connection" and select "Community Seminars, Health Classes and Events."