When you or a loved one is diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may understandably be dealing with a cloud of worry, looking for any information that can teach you how to live with it, how to treat it, and how to beat it. It’s a difficult yet manageable disease, and your journey to full recovery is dependent on how you handle the different ebbs and flows of your situation. Beyond the mental preparation you’ll be doing, here are some myths we can debunk about prostate cancer right off the bat.
1. Surgery is always the best option.
While surgery is often the best solution for certain advanced cases, a 20-year study suggests that observation may be the best medicine for men with early-stage prostate cancer. Researchers randomly assigned 731 men, average age 67, with localized prostate cancer to receive either surgery or observation only. At the 20-year follow-up, 62% of the men who had prostate cancer surgery had died of other causes, while only 7% died from prostate cancer. In comparison, 67% of the men assigned to observation died from other causes and 11% from prostate cancer. The absolute differences in mortality were not significant.
2. Circumcision increases the risk of prostate cancer.
It’s easy to form an invisible link between circumcision and increased risk of infection or disease in that localized area. However, a study from the University of Washington School of Medicine shows that men who undergo circumcision are 15% less likely to develop prostate cancer. This evidence was reflected in studies for both aggressive and non-aggressive forms of the disease. So, if you’ve been holding back on undergoing any minor circumcision procedures because of the added health risk, you can breathe easy.
3. A high PSA score means you have prostate cancer.
PSA, which is defined as prostate specific antigen, is often measured for patients seeking answers on the nature of their prostate health. The problem is, there is supporting evidence for both high levels and low levels of PSA being associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer. If your PSA level is abnormally high, that’s still something that should be addressed with your doctor; by all accounts, prostate cancer can be attributed to almost any seemingly normal symptom, since they only start to show up in the later stages of the disease.
We hope that we’ve been able to help put you at greater ease in dealing with the reality of prostate cancer. The key to recovery is rooted in removing stigma and working to live a healthier lifestyle – in body and mind – one day at a time. If you’re looking to learn more about prostate cancer and how to live with it, please contact us.