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Busting common myths about prostate cancer

How much do you know about prostate cancer? Test out your knowledge with our quiz and learn about common myths about prostate cancer.

1) The only way to detect it is the finger exam


The “finger exam” is actually called a digital rectal exam, or DRE. Although it can help doctors find irregularities, many experts don’t recommend it on its own to test for prostate cancer. In fact, the PSA test, which measures levels of prostate specific antigen in a man’s blood, is the best, and usually first of a series of tests used to detect prostate cancer early. You should always have a discussion with your doctor about whether the PSA test is right for you. Visit prostatecancer.ca/PSA for more information.

2) The best treatment is surgery


For cancer that hasn’t spread outside the prostate, there are options other than surgery, such as radiation. All treatments come with a risk of side effects, so it’s important to speak with your doctor.

Some men with slow-growing prostate cancer can be monitored through active surveillance, with intervention only if the cancer starts to grow. This can help men avoid overtreatment and unnecessary side effects.

3) It isn’t a serious disease, so I don’t need to worry


Prostate cancer should not be underestimated, especially because it kills about 4,000 Canadians every year. Most of those cases were not caught early: Finding it early increases chances of successfully treating it. Some types are slow-growing, but others grow faster and require immediate attention. Important research is underway to determine which men have slow- or fast-growing cancer so treatments can be personalized – giving every man a better chance.


4) I’m not an old man, so I’m not at risk


This statement isn’t true unless you consider yourself “old” at 50. Your risk of prostate cancer increases with age - most cases are diagnosed over the age of 50 - so start PSA testing then. Some men are at higher risk: If you have a family history or are a black man, start testing at 45. 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime so understand your risk and speak with your doctor about whether the PSA test is right for you.


5) Research is making a difference


Over 25 years, Prostate Cancer Canada, in partnership with The Movember Foundation, has invested $120 million in world-leading Canadian research. In this time, the mortality rate has dropped by 50%. Early detection and improved treatments mean more men are being diagnosed early, treated more effectively, and living longer, healthier lives. We’re also researching different treatments for slow-growing and quickly-spreading cancer, so each man can have the treatment that works best for him.


6) If I am healthy and active, I can prevent it


The truth is, we don’t know. Studies haven’t found anything that could help prevent prostate cancer. Scientists are looking at whether what we eat and chemicals in our environment or workplaces could increase our risk. Others are looking at whether obesity contributes to aggressive disease. We do know that living a healthy life, with exercise and a balanced diet puts you in a good position to recover better from challenging diagnoses including prostate cancer.



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Posted: 2019-07-03 11:02:10 AM


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