Guest Post by Matt Herndon
If you love the man in your life and want to keep him around for a while, then you probably already encourage him in big and little ways to be a bit healthier. You likely serve vegetables with his steak, encourage him to join you on your morning walk and schedule his annual checkup for him. But what many women don’t know is that prostate cancer is a serious risk for the men they love. The American Cancer Society states that prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting American men other than skin cancer, and it will go undetected without a doctor’s diagnosis until it has progressed too far to be treated, so it is something you need to take very seriously.
Who is at risk?
Any man can develop prostate cancer, but it’s rare in men under the age of 40. Two-thirds of all men who are diagnosed are diagnosed after the age of 65, with the average age being 67. If your spouse is age 50 or older, he should be screened. If he is past the age of 65, then he absolutely needs a screening every year.
How to encourage your man to get checked
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, around 90 percent of all prostate cancer cases are detected through screening, which is why screening is so important. Basic prostate cancer screenings should be part of this annual checkup. However, you need to make sure that your spouse’s doctor provides this service. If the man in your life isn’t getting screened, then you need to do something about it.
You’ve probably learned that when it comes to your spouse, nagging won’t accomplish anything. To encourage him to get screened, consider sharing the statistics with him and expressing your concern. Remind him that prostate cancer doesn’t have any symptoms until it is too late. Most reasonable men will agree to the simple screening to please the women they love.
Dealing with a diagnosis
If you find that your partner does have prostate cancer, avoid the temptation to panic. The word “cancer” is scary, but the good news about this disease is that treatments have a high success rate if the cancer is caught early. Also, most prostate cancers grow slowly, so you have time to explore your options.
You and your partner need to research all of the options available to treat your cancer, rather than assuming that the first one your doctor recommends is best. For instance, if you opt for proton therapy instead of surgery, you may be able to prevent incontinence and impotence. Although proton therapy is becoming more accepted in the medical community, there are relatively few proton therapy providers in the country. IU Health Proton Therapy Center, in Indiana, is one of nine centers here in the U.S. While all prostate cancer treatments do carry some risk, some have less of a risk than others, and you need to explore all options with the help of your partner.
Remember, men often put their own health needs last on their priority list. To ensure that your man stays by your side for many years, encourage him to be proactive about his health. A regular cancer screening after the age of 50 is part of this.
Matt Herndon lives in Indianapolis with his wife and children. He is a freelance writer and also writes for Dose of My Own, a blog that discusses what’s happening in the medical field.