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Prostate Cancer Awareness

Friday September 6, 2013

What is it?

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer for men in the United States. Overall, one in six men will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime. Although it can affect men of any race and age, it is more common in men of color - specifically African American men, men age 50 or older and men who have had a father, brother or son diagnosed with this disease. The digital rectal exam and the prostate- specific antigen (PSA) blood test are the two tests doctors commonly use to screen for prostate cancer.

Medical experts do not know why some men develop prostate cancer and others do not. Certain factors like age, race and family history may increase their risk. In the early stages, prostate cancer usually has no symptoms. As the disease progresses, some men experience a frequent urge to urinate, weak or interrupted urine flow, pain or a burning sensation during urination or ejaculation, blood in the urine or semen, or persistent pain in the hip, back or pelvic region.

What has the Army done?

Under the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program, the Army partners with federal and civilian agencies to search for better ways to diagnose, treat and one day prevent this disease. Research shows obese men, men who eat large amounts of fats - particularly animal fats and men with sleep disorders may have increased risks for prostate and other cancers. The Army encourages all men, Soldiers and civilians to talk to their primary care provider or urologists about the benefits and risks of prostate screenings and the healthy behaviors and prevention strategies of not smoking, staying physically active, eating a healthy diet and getting proper sleep to improve their overall health.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Army is comprised of 85 percent men whose continued health and wellness is essential to readiness. The debate among researchers and medical providers about the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening is ongoing. The decision to screen or not is a personal choice each man must make in coordination with his healthcare provider and his family. The Army wants to help raise awareness and provide men the information and resources to make educated, informed decisions about screening and treatment options.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

Lessons learned from the Army’s Performance Triad Pilot Program will help transform the Army’s culture on health and prevention to help Soldiers, civilians, and families prevent diseases and live healthier, longer lives.


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