Ah… the prostate exam; could there be a more awkward reason to have two men in the same small tiny room? For many men the idea of having a same sex peer ask you to pull your pants down and bend over while he moves his well-lubricated finger inside your exit, is as close to hell as it gets.
But with the rise of prostate cancer in the boomer generation, it’s time for men to suck it up and bend over.
The miseries of a growing prostate gland plague many male baby boomers long before they perceive themselves as aging. Symptoms can appear when a man is in his late 40s, according to urological surgeon Robert Weiss, and include “urinary frequency, often causing a man to get up several times each night, and urgency-difficulty in making it to a bathroom.”
Cancer occurs on the outside of the prostate, which is why physicians check for nodules using a rectal exam. This should be paired with an annual PSA screening (blood test) starting at age 45 for African American men and 50 for others.
The primary risk factor for prostate malignancy—which affects one in six men in the U.S. in their lifetimes—is aging. Under age 40, the incidence is one in 10,000, but it jumps dramatically to one in 38 for 40- to 59-year-olds, and one in 14 for those in their 60s.
With the men of the “baby boomers” generation in the United States approaching target age for prostate cancer screening, the incidence of prostate cancer is expected to increase to 300,000 a year in the next decade. While treatable in earlier stages of the disease, prostate cancer can be much harder to treat in more advanced stages and can be fatal. In fact, prostate cancer is the number two cancer killer in men. This year, an estimated 30,000 will die from the disease. Treatment options for prostate cancer are dictated largely by the stage of the disease, the patient’s age and health, whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred, and other factors. Of particular concern is the plight of advanced prostate cance r patients.
Every year, 70,000 men require additional treatment due to a recurrence of prostate cancer. If the cancerous cells are not detected during initial treatment or if tumors go undetected, the cancer may spread beyond the prostate. Over time, many patients no longer respond to hormone therapy, meaning they have hormone-refractory prostate cancer. Advanced prostate cancer patients face the development of painful bone metastases at which point they generally have two to three years to live. Quality of life during this stage of treatment can be greatly diminished.
Prostate cancer can be treated easily when caught in its early stages; you just have to be man enough to be a little uncomfortable for a 10-15 minute rectal exam that just could save your life.
Boomeryearbook.com is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit
We have many more Health Care Articles Now Available.