EMS Beat: National Prostate Cancer Month

By Albee Bockman, AEMT-P

The month of September has been designated as “National Prostate Cancer Month” in North America. Health experts, health advocates, and individuals have combined their efforts to increase public awareness of the importance of prostate health. We all know how important it is to be educated on all aspects of our health, but nothing is more important to men than knowing risk factors and symptoms of prostate related diseases.
Listen, guys: As personal as this subject may be, there is nothing more personal to our loved ones than to make sure we all live long, healthy, productive lives. Although this particular disease can affect our “personal” life – – and you know what I am talking about – – so much has been done through research and treatment allowing us to continue having a fulfilling and satisfying sexual relationship with our loving partner.
However, we must be alert and vigilant in recognizing the signs and symptoms of prostate issues:
1. Frequent urges to urinate;
2. Getting up 2, 3, or maybe 4 times over night to urinate;
3. Difficulty commencing and maintaining urination;
4. Pain or burning during urination;
5. Blood in the urine;
6. Lower back pain;
7. Difficulty achieving or maintaining your “stamina” during sexual activity.
Risk factors:
1. Over 50 years of age;
2. Genetics. 60% more common in African-American men;
3. Diet and obesity.
It is so very important we see our physician on a regular basis. Yearly physical exams are to include a PSA test and rectal exam. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the level of a protein made by cells in the prostate gland in a man’s blood. PSA levels rise when there is a problem with the prostate. It is normal to have a low level of PSA – – 0.0 – 4.0. Having prostate cancer can increase it – – usually PSA level over 4.0. Not all readings over 4.0 mean one may have the disease, but is it an alerting mechanism to seek further medical intervention and advice.
There are many different colored ribbons signifying various causes in America. This month’s color is “light blue”. Let’s celebrate National Prostate Cancer Month with public awareness and education!
Stay well, Hurleyville!