September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month which makes it a great time to brush up on your knowledge about prostate cancer and determine if you need to talk to your health care provider about getting screened. Many people associate prostate cancer as a cancer that only affects old men, robs all men of sexual function and is completely cured by removal of the prostate.
Like any cancer, prostate cancer can cause confusion and fears among those who are diagnosed. Female partners often experience the same fear and confusion when trying to understand al the treatment options, side effects and how it may affect the sexual side of their relationship.
A normal prostate is about the size of a walnut or kiwifruit. It can be felt by the doctor during a digital rectal exam. The function of the prostate gland is to store and secrete a milky white fluid that when mixed with sperm is what makes up semen. Then the semen is ejaculated during orgasm. Many men find having their prostate gland stimulated very pleasurable and report it heightens the intensity of their orgasm. For this reason the prostate is sometimes referred to as the male G-Spot.
If you are concerned or want to learn more about here are three things you can start with:
First, early prostate cancer often causes no symptoms which is why men should have their PSA level drawn. Symptoms of more advanced prostate cancer can include pain and bleeding during urination, frequent urination, especially at night, problems emptying bladder. Sexual symptoms can include erectile dysfunction and problems with ejaculation. Also pain in the bones or back, incontinence of bowel or bladder can be signs that the cancer has advanced.
Second, While uncommon in men under age 45 it is recommended that men start having their PSA level checked at age 40. When caught early prostate cancer has a high success rate for treatment. When not caught early it has a high rate of metastasis. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men.
Third, be aware of your treatment options. It used to be that men had to have their prostate removed and that meant the end of being able to get erections. This was not because of the prostate being removed. It was because of the way it was removed. Doctor’s did not do what is called “nerve sparing surgery” where they saved the nerves that enable an erection while still removing the prostate. Today many doctors can perform this surgery allowing for successful treatment and preserving erectile function as well. So do not be afraid to get a second opinion if you need surgery. Know your options. These are three basic facts about prostate cancer. There is certainly more to know and learn. So get involved in Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and educate yourself.