About 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.1
This becomes especially relevant with your male patients of a certain age. With such a large population of Baby Boomers and Gen X, aging prostate cancer may become more common.
But there are many options to recommend for maintaining a healthy prostate, no matter what your age.
Why caring about prostate cancer matters
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men behind skin cancer. And while it can affect men of all ages, the average age at diagnosis is 66.1 This means that you should be talking with your male patients about their general risk, but paying extra attention to your older male patients.
While prostate cancer is a serious disease, it is not fatal for most men who are diagnosed. A key part of this is early detection.
Signs of prostate cancer
Early detection starts with knowing the signs of symptoms of prostate cancer. Some early symptoms include weak urine flow, frequent urination, burning while urination or blood in the urine or semen.2
More advanced symptoms include swelling in the legs or pelvic area, numbness in the pelvis or hips or bone pain that won’t go away.2 Screening for prostate cancer typically begins around 50 but can be earlier if there is a family history or other high risk.
As a DC, how can you increase awareness of prostate cancer among your patients?
How to increase awareness
Awareness is very important with prostate cancer because it’s so common but not something many men are comfortable discussing. Here are some ideas for awareness campaigns within your own practice.
1) Send out an educational email
If you use email for client communication, send out an educational email about prostate cancer. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and it would be especially timely to send something out during that month.
Things to include would be signs and symptoms, how to detect prostate cancer early and some prevention methods. Although it impacts primarily men, sending to all your patients can help increase awareness among women for the men in their life.
2) Contest during ‘Movember’
“Movember” is an annual event involving the growing of mustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.3 Have a mustache contest or another type of fun contest during this time can be an easy way to increase awareness among your patients.
3) Educational posters
Hanging-up educational posters about prostate cancer is also an easy way to educate your patients. Putting them in the waiting room, adjusting room or rehab areas can quickly and effectively get the message out there.
Supplements to help keep your prostate healthy
There are a few supplements to recommend to male patients who want to maintain a healthy prostate. Depending on their needs, they can take them individually or find supplements that blend multiple ingredients.
Saw Palmetto is one of the most popular supplements for addressing prostate cancer because it has the most promising research. It is an herbal supplement that comes from a palm tree, native to the South.
Saw palmetto has many benefits for the urinary system including lowering urinary tract symptoms. In terms of prostate cancer, there has been research showing that it helps slow the growth of prostate cancer and is especially helpful in treating benign prostate hyperplasia.4 Saw palmetto is generally considered safe and has few side effects for most people.
An African plum extract, pygeum has been shown to help reduce the symptoms of prostate cancer as well as help prevent it in the first place.
A 2012 study showed pygeium’s benefits include protection against cancerous prostate cells.5 Another study showed pygeum acts on androgen receptors to help control prostate growth.6
Pygeum has also been shown to help reduce nighttime urges to urinate and improve urine flow.7
Beta-sitosterols are one of the most common of the supplements for prostate health. A 2015 study showed that it helped inhibit prostate cancer growth. “B-Sitosterol has been reported to inhibit 5α-reductase at micromolar concentrations, and this inhibition has been hypothesized to be responsible for its activities in prostate cancer and enlarged prostate.”8
All of these supplements and others have been shown to help prevent or reduce the symptoms of prostate cancer. Help your patients be informed and also reduce their risk.