September: A Focus on Ovarian and Prostate Cancer
According to the CDC, prostate cancer is the most common cancer (other than skin cancer) among men in the United States. And research shows that ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death in American woman.
In Georgia during 2016, an estimated 420 women died from ovarian cancer and an estimated 780 men died from prostate cancer.
Six cases of ovarian cancer and 63 cases of prostate cancer were treated at Archbold’s Singletary Oncology Center last year.
September is recognized as National Ovarian and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. And Archbold physicians say it’s a good time to remind men and women to talk with their physician about screening recommendations, as well as family history of both diseases.
“Prostate cancer and ovarian cancer are actually similar in a few ways,” said Archbold medical oncologist Amanda D. May, MD. “The most important thing for men and women to know about both diseases is it’s typical for patients not to show symptoms until the disease is advanced for either one.”
Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in females. And symptoms are so rare and often undetected for ovarian cancer, that the disease is often at an advanced stage by the time it is detected, which makes treatment very difficult.
Dr. May said one of the greatest risk factors for ovarian cancer is if a family member has had the disease.
“Women can know if they are at an increased risk for developing ovarian cancer, simply by knowing their family history of the disease,” said Dr. May.
Similar to ovarian cancer, there are a few symptoms men can look for with prostate cancer.
“Difficulty starting urination, frequent urination and blood in the urine can be symptoms of ovarian and prostate cancer,” said Archbold medical oncologist Brian Gaupp, MD.
But unlike ovarian cancer, there are a few tests that are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer.
“Especially if you have a family history of prostate cancer, your physician may recommend a screening digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate specific antigen test (PSA),” said Dr. Gaupp.
Both physicians recommend talking with your primary care physician about your family history as it relates to both diseases, and also discussing the ovarian and prostate screening schedule that is best for you.
For more information about ovarian or prostate cancer, call the Archbold Singletary Oncology Center at 229.584.5400.