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Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

(Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.) — September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month in the CNMI.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer found in males. The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system and is about the size of a walnut. The prostate gland changes as men age, typically increasing in size, resulting in a decrease in urine flow and possible increase in the risk of prostate problems.

The three most common prostate problems listed by the National Cancer Institute are 1) inflammation (prostatitis), 2) enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), and 3) prostate cancer.

Symptoms of prostatitis

  • • Trouble passing urine
  • • A burning or stinging feeling or pain when passing urine
  • • Strong, frequent urge to pass urine, even when there is only a small amount of urine
  • • Chills and high fever
  • • Low back pain or body aches
  • • Pain low in the belly, groin, or behind the scrotum
  • • Rectal pressure or pain
  • • Urethral discharge with bowel movements
  • • Genital and rectal throbbing
  • • Sexual problems and loss of sex drive
  • • Painful ejaculations

Symptoms of BPH

  • • Trouble starting a urine stream or making more than a dribble
  • • Passing urine often, especially at night
  • • Feeling that the bladder has not fully emptied
  • • A strong or sudden urge to pass urine
  • • Weak or slow urine stream
  • • Stopping and starting again several times while passing urine
  • • Pushing or straining to begin passing urine

Symptoms of prostate cancer  

  • • Trouble passing urine
  • • Frequent urge to pass urine, especially at night
  • • Weak or interrupted urine stream
  • • Pain or burning when passing urine
  • • Blood in the urine or semen
  • • Painful ejaculation
  • • Nagging pain in the back, hips, or pelvis

If detected during the early stages, prostate cancer is treatable. This year, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends that:

  • • Men who are 55 to 69 years old should make individual decisions about being screened for prostate cancer with a prostate specific antigen or PSA test;
  • • Before making a decision, men should talk to their primary provider about the benefits and harms of screening for prostate cancer, including the benefits and harms of other tests and treatment;
  • • Men who are 70 years old and older should not be screen for prostate cancer routinely.

To learn more about prostate cancer screening, please talk to your primary care provider or contact the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program at 234 – 8728.