Getting the Word Out About Prostate Cancer

Chatham County Health Department to Hold Educational Sessions

Gone are the days when cancer was a taboo subject talked about behind closed doors in hushed tones. Today, thanks to awareness campaigns, more and more people are finding out about different cancers and how they can be prevented, detected, and treated. Certain kinds of cancers are still hard for some people to discuss.

Case and point: Prostate cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, prostate cancer is the most common cancer (after skin cancer) affecting men in the United States. In fact, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.

Talking openly about a cancer that can affect part of a man’s reproductive system is not easy. The Chatham County Health Department wants to change that by getting the word out about prostate cancer.

“September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and we want residents in the Coastal Health District, including Chatham County, to start talking about this disease to promote awareness of it,” said Coastal Health District Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Director, Cristina Gibson. “The more people talk about it the better the chances that more men will get tested.”

The Chatham County Health Department will hold two prostate cancer “lunch and learn” sessions on Tuesday, October 7. Sessions will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Information on prostate cancer will be presented and a light lunch will be served. The sessions are free and open to the public. The Chatham County Health Department is located at 1395 Eisenhower Drive.

Although the cause of prostate cancer is not known, there are some groups of men that are at higher risk for the disease including men 65 and older, men with a family history of the disease, and African-American men. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that all men over age 50 get screened annually. However, the ACS also recommends that men at high-risk for the disease (African-American men and men with one or more firstdegree relatives diagnosed before age 65) should begin testing at age 45. Men at even higher risk, due to multiple first-degree relatives affected at an early age, should begin testing at age 40.

There are two ways to screen for prostate cancer. The first method is the digital rectal exam (DRE). The DRE is a quick way for the doctor to check the prostate for any abnormalities. The second method is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The PSA test involves drawing blood and testing the PSA levels.

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