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It’s that time of the year where most of us have realized that our New Year’s resolutions just aren’t going to happen. I resolved to try and learn Mandarin, one of the hardest languages in the world. After a month of audiobooks and verbal exercises, I can count to 5. 

But we should not be defeated. Instead of giving up and hibernating ‘til spring, let’s recommit to one resolution that we can all achieve:  

Take Charge of Your Health  

(So what does that mean for you?)

If you’re in your 20s or 30s: 
  • Talk to your relatives to learn more about your family history with prostate cancer. Ten to 15 per cent of men with prostate cancer have a family history of the disease. Men with a family history of the disease are at a greater risk of developing prostate cancer .
  • Healthy habits, such as diet and exercise, start now. Eating a wide variety of healthy, low fat foods, may help to prevent prostate cancer. Exercise also plays an important role, as overweight and obese men may be at higher risk of developing the disease. 
If you’re in your 40s or 50s:
  • At age 40, establish a baseline PSA value. While the threat of prostate cancer is minimal at this age, it also precedes the onset of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the natural enlargement of the prostate that commonly occurs with age. The onset of BPH often results in rising PSA over time, and can be confused with the onset of prostate cancer. Unless your resulting baseline PSA score is of concern to your doctor, the PSA test need only be repeated every 5 years until age 50. Men at higher risk of prostate cancer (e.g. men whose father and/or brother developed prostate cancer and/or those of African or Caribbean descent) should begin annual PSA and DRE monitoring at age 40.
  • By age 50, all men should begin annual or semi-annual PSA monitoring if they have not yet done so. A minimal increase in PSA levels against your baseline score often (in consultation with your physician) requires no further action until your next annual test. A significant increase should prompt a discussion with your doctor or urologist about follow up PSA blood tests.
  If you’re in your 60s or 70s: 
  • Prostate cancer screening shouldcontinue throughout your 60s and 70s. Keeping up with regular screening is important because symptoms don’t always present themselves in cases of prostate cancer, especially in the early stages.
  • Other non-cancerous prostate conditions, such as inflammation of the prostate or benign enlargement of the prostate, become more prevalent as you age. While these conditions share some similar symptoms, they require different treatments; talk to your doctor about what treatment options are right for you.
Cheers to a healthy and proactive 2012. (And congratulations on keeping your New Year’s resolution)!

Prostate Cancer Canada
Prostate Cancer Canada Network 

Post submitted by Jillian Hermansen, Coordinator, Marketing & Communications


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