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Men’s Health                                           50.  Prostate cancer affects all men differently. Some

                                                               will experience symptoms while others will not.  The

                                                               heightens the importance of early screening which is
        Prevention and Education                               disease may be slow in some and rapid in others which
                                                               vital to treatment and to increased quality of life.

        by Dr. Angela Thornton                                 Symptoms may include:
        Associate Professor at Florida A&M University’s        •  Blood in urine or semen
        College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.       •  The need to urinate frequently especially at night
                                                               •  Weak urine flow
        Men’s health has emerged as an important  public       •  Pain or burning while urinating
        concern. Studies show that many men do not go to the   •  Inability to urinate
        doctor regularly or have a primary physician. In most   •  Constant pain in lower back, pelvis or upper thighs
        cases, these men are not getting screened for diseases   •  Painful ejaculation
        that may impact their day-to-day activities and longevity.
        In turn, this affects their families and decreases work   Having a father, brother, or son who has had prostate
        days which impacts them financially. Men are 24% less   cancer or being  black is a risk factor which warrant
        likely than women to have visited a physician within the   screening  at least by the age of 40.  There are two
        past year. It is very important for all men to go to the   tests that are  commonly  used  to screen  for prostate
        doctor regularly and get physical exams. Prevention is   cancer.  The Digital  Rectal  Exam (DRE) in which  a
        vital to living longer and decreasing the incidence of   doctor or nurse will insert a gloved, lubricated finger
        complications and death.                               into the rectum, to feel the prostate. This allows  the
                                                               examiner to estimate the size of the prostate and feel
        Screening  tests can detect diseases  and  allow       any lumps or other abnormalities. Most men don’t get
        treatment to start early, thus improving overall health   tested because of the fear of this test which is painless.
        and quality of life.  It is important to go to the doctor   The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test measures the
        regularly and develop a good rapport with him or her   PSA level in the blood.
        so that you are comfortable in talking about any of your
        health concerns. It is suggested to have the following   Other things that may improve a man’s health are
        screenings:                                            exercising, eating healthy,  maintaining  a healthy
                                                               weight, minimizing  drinking alcohol and smoking.
        •  Cholesterol checked annually starting at age 35     Daily exercising or excercise at least 3 times a week
        •  Blood pressure checked at least every 2 years       is  suggested.  Excercise may  be  walking, dancing,
        •  Colorectal cancer test starting at age 50           swimming, working in the lawn, and or bicycling. Eating
                                                               a balanced diet of fruit and vegetables and reducing
        It is also suggested that you speak with your physician   the consumption of  animal fat  also contributes to  a
        about whether you should  be tested for Sexually       healthier life style.
        Transmitted Infections (STI) and HIV. It is very important
        to  know your  status  because initiating therapy early   If you are taking any medications make sure that you
        decreases complications and improves overall health.   know why you are taking them and know all the doses.
        Early detection and intervention  also decreases the   If you have any questions about your medicines make
        chance of spreading the disease to others.             sure that you contact your doctor or discuss with
                                                               your local  pharmacist.  Take all  medicines  everyday
        The most commonly diagnosed forms of cancer among      according  to the directions.  Let your doctor know of
        men are prostate, lung, and colorectal. Prostate cancer   any side effects that you may experience.
        affects  African  American men at a higher  incidence   Stay up-to-date with your immunizations.  It is highly
        rate and more aggressively  than Caucasian  men. It    recommended  that  all  people  older  than  50  years
        is the most commonly  diagnosed  cancer  in  African   of age and those between the age of 19 through 49
        American men. There is a 19% chance (1 in 5) that an   years of age with asthma, diabetes mellitus, and other
        African American man will be diagnosed with prostate   chronic diseases get flu shots each year.  Your doctor
        cancer in their lifetime and a 5% (1 in 20) chance of   will  consider  your medical  and  immunization  history
        death. It is the fourth leading cause of death among   when deciding which immunizations you need.
        African American men over the age of 45. It is highly
        recommended that African American men are screened     So take charge of your health, educate yourself, find
        at age 40 instead of the universal recommended age of   you a physician and begin to get annual check-ups.

       LIFELINE magazine                                                                                       13
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