As told to Nan Kavanaugh, Illustration by Roosevelt Watson III
The prostate is one of the organs that we are familiar with, but may not know much about how it serves the body. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month, and we asked Dr. Ali Kasraeian of Kasraeian Urology to share with us some information about the prostate and how to keep it healthy.
1. What is the prostate and how does it serve the body?
The prostate is an organ that lives at the bottom of the pelvis under the bladder, and the urine channel runs through it. Basically, it serves as an outflow track for semen, and it secrets fluid that nourishes and protects sperm on its quest to fertilize the egg.
2. What can men do to keep their prostate in good health?
Maintaining a healthy balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and grains, which seems like a generic recommendation, but it really serves our bodies well. Study after study shows that diets that are high in red meats and fats contribute to a rise in certain cancers, and prostate cancer is a part of that group.
3. Is there an age where men need to begin to think more about their prostate health? Why?
You should start screening in your 40s. Your first PSA test in your 40s is most predictive of your prostate cancer risk. Men don’t like to talk about this stuff. We are the worst. It is tough to do, but the problem with prostate cancer is that there are no symptoms. It is out of sight out of mind. One of the most important things to do is to get appropriate and timely screening for prostate cancer.
4. Are there any early warning signs that your prostate may be unhealthy or cancerous?
There is nothing. Ninety percent or more of prostate cancers have no symptoms. It is difficult because a patient feels great and is living their life, and then they are diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is different than if you had a heart attack or an intestinal blockage, and you feel terrible and treatment makes you feel better. You feel great, and then all of a sudden you have all of these things to do for treatment that are very daunting.
5. If there was one thing you wish every man knew about his prostate, what would it be?
Get screened. It can really save your life. Getting screened earlier in your 40s can give us a better idea of where you lie. If you have an abnormal screening, and a biopsy is suggested, see an urologist that has expertise in some of the more cutting-edge diagnostic techniques out there. If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, you have time to take in the information about your cancer and make an informed decision. Prostate cancer is not a rapidly progressing disease. The world of prostate cancer therapy is changing at a rapid pace. You may be a candidate for certain treatments and you want to find an expert who deals with prostate cancer, specifically.
To hear more about prostate health from expert Dr. Ali Kasraeian, visit us online