By Jeremy Wise, Army Flier staffApril 8, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- One in six men develop prostate cancer in their lifetimes, and even more experience enlarged prostate problems.
According to a Lyster Army Health Clinic official, men can take steps throughout their lives to prevent these issues from occurring or limit their effects.
Cancer and enlarged prostates, also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy, are the two major health issues related to prostates, according to Maj. (Dr.) John Reaume, Department of Aviation Medicine chief. Cancer cell may form in the prostate, multiply and spread to other areas of the body, causing death, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, www.cdc.gov , said.
The Web site states the prostate "is part of the reproductive system that makes the fluid that carries sperm."
Prostate cancer symptoms include a variety of urinary symptoms, including frequent urination, blood in urine, weak or interrupted flow, pain or burning or the inability to urinate. Constant pain in the lower back, thighs and pelvic area may also be a sign, the CDC said.
While pre-screenings and regular checkups often prevent or detect other illnesses in early stages, "there is still considerable debate about the effectiveness and timing of screening for prostate cancer," Reaume said.
If men have any of the symptoms above, though, he recommends they see their doctors.
"There are medical treatments available for many of the issues, and in the case of prostate cancer, being seen may save your life," he said.
Reaume said the American Cancer Society recommends prostate-specific antigen screenings or digital (finger) rectal examinations annually for men 50 or older and for patients with higher risks at 45 years old. Those patients include black men and males with first-degree relatives diagnosed with the disease at younger ages. LAHC staff can perform these checkups, Reaume added.
He said men can take other steps to prevent prostate cancer.
"There is some dietary association with a high-fat, low-vegetable diet increasing risk for developing prostate cancer. There is some association between obesity and prostate cancer risk," he said. "Maintaining a healthy body weight and maintaining a low-fat, high-vegetable diet may decrease your risk for prostate cancer and will decrease your risk of numerous other health problems."
Reaume also said some research shows higher prostate cancer risks in those who have had sexually transmitted diseases in the past.
BPH presents with similar symptoms as prostate cancer but is not preventable, according to officials on www.webmd.com. Men can take some steps to limit the disease's effects without medication, Reaume said.
"Behavior modifications such as avoiding fluids prior to bedtime or before going out, reducing consumption of mild diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol and double voiding to empty the bladder more completely should be practiced," he said.
For more information, visit the CDC Web site or call LAHC at 255-7000.