By Pamela Dent
September brings the end of summer, a new school year … and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. While we are busy ensuring children get an education, it is also important to educate men — and those who love them — about prostate cancer prevention. Prostate cancer isn't something people like to talk about, so it's no wonder there remains a great deal of confusion surrounding this disease. Having the conversation about risk factors and overall health is crucial.
According to American Cancer Society's statistics, 11,500 new cases of prostate cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the state of Pennsylvania alone in 2011. Early detection, screening and knowledge can be the keys to a good outcome; so read on, men — and women too. Women often persuade the men in their lives to schedule screenings or make appointments for them.
I'd like to discuss five myths of prostate cancer.
- Myth No. 1: Prostate cancer is a disease that affects only old men.
- Myth No. 2: I don't have any symptoms, so I don't have prostate cancer.
- Myth No. 3: When I take the PSA test, I don't have to worry if I have a low PSA. If I have a high PSA level, that means that I have prostate cancer.
- Myth No. 4: Prostate cancer doesn't run in my family, so I don't have to worry about getting it.
- Myth No. 5: I can pass my prostate cancer to others.
The answer for this is "no". Prostate cancer is not transferable, infectious or communicable. There is no way for you to pass it on to someone else. However, genetics do play a part in your risk of developing cancer; it is recommended that you speak openly with your family and loved ones.
Know the facts. Share them with your loved ones. And contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns. For more information, visit http://www.preventcancer.org.
Pamela Dent is a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and the spouse of U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-15.