September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and our team at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center agrees there is no better time to educate yourself and your loved ones on the facts: what it is, the risk factors involved, and what you can do to prevent it.

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer for men in America, with 1 in 6 men being diagnosed in their lifetime. Although most prostate cancers are slow growing, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize(spread) from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes.

What Are Some Risk Factors?

While doctors don't completely understand the causes of prostate cancer, researchers have found several factors that may affect your risk of getting it.

  • Age: Almost 2 out of 3 prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65.
  • Race/Ethnicity: Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races.
  • Nationality: Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia and on Caribbean islands.
  • Family History: Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that in some cases, there may be an inherited or genetic factor. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man's risk of developing this disease.

How Can You Prevent It?

While there is no proven method for preventing prostate cancer, EIRMC experts cite key things you can do to reduce your risk.

  • Choose a healthy diet: Eat more fruits, vegetables and fish, and reduce the amount of dairy you eat. Eat more fat from plants than animals, and limit alcohol intake.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity (BMI of 30 or higher) can increase your risk for prostate cancer.
  • Exercise.
  • Talk to one of our specialists about whether prostate cancer screenings are right for you.

Prostate cancer is a serious disease, but most men diagnosed do not die from it. It's important to educate yourself on the risks and ways you can help prevent it. Call (208) 227-2777 to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.