June is National Men’s Health Awareness Month

With Father’s Day having come and gone June is an excellent time to remind men about the importance of their own health. Nowadays with so many activities and responsibilities it’s easy for men to take their health for granted. There are so many health issues that are specific to men that at times it can be overwhelming. So today’s article will focus in on a very serious medical condition affecting millions of men; Prostate Cancer.  Prostate Cancer will affect one out of every 9 men in their lifetime. Local urologist Dr. R. Paul Bonitz states that “Prostate Cancer is the leading solid organ cancer diagnosed in men.”

There are many factors that influence one’s chance of developing Prostate Cancer including age, family history and race. A man is twice as likely to develop Prostate Cancer if a close family member was previously diagnosed.  Likewise, African American men are more likely to be afflicted than other races.

The symptoms associated with Prostate Cancer are where things can get a bit tricky. In many situations there simply are none. Symptoms that could develop such as difficulty urinating, frequent urination, urinary retention, and pain to the bones can all occur late as the disease progresses.

So how does one go about finding out if they have the condition? Starting at age 40 a yearly physical exam can greatly increase the chance of detection. On the primary care level the two diagnostic tools, along with a comprehensive history, are the Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) and a blood test, the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA.)  An abnormality detected on either one will elicit a referral to our urologist colleagues. Ultimately the diagnosis will be made from a Prostate Biopsy.

As Dr. Bonitz states, “If caught early, prostate cancer is one of the most treatable malignancies.” Treatment options vary greatly depending on a particular individual’s circumstances.” Treatment can be as simple as close observation, to hormonal therapies, radiation or perhaps surgery. Many factors play into a treatment plan which would be thoroughly discussed with a urologist at the appropriate time.

Men, take charge of your health. Get out there and enjoy this beautiful June weather but don’t put off your health. Prostate Cancer and many other health conditions are detectable and treatable.

About the Authors:

Dr. Mulholland is a board certified family practitioner and is the owner of Mulholland Medical Group an affiliate of Integrated Medicine Alliance. He attended Georgetown University School of Medicine and trained at Penn State University.

 R. Paul Bonitz is a board certified urologist at Riverview Medical Center who specializes in Robotic Prostate Surgery. Having attended Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and trained at Hackensack University Medical Center, he now practices at Urology Associates in Shrewsbury NJ.