>•• WHEN PSA SCREENING MIGHT BEGIN
In 2017, an estimated 26,730 men died from prostate cancer, while in 2022, that number rose to approximately 34,500… (American Cancer Society)
The Maine Coalition to Fight Prostate Cancer (MCFPC) believes that it is important for men to have the information necessary to make informed decisions about when they should have PSA screening. When prostate cancer is caught early, it is extremely treatable. When it is not diagnosed until it has spread, it is much more difficult to treat and can become life threatening.
We therefore encourage men to establish a relationship with a Primary Care Provider when they are young and healthy so they have someone to perform screenings and turn to with any future health concerns.
>•• WHO IS AT INCREASED RISK
Men over age 60, African American heritage, men with a family history of multiple generations with prostate, breast, ovarian, pancreatic or colon cancer are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Additionally, men who have had exposure to certain chemicals such as agent orange, benzene, PFAS and PCE’s should be offered screening regardless of age. Men with African American heritage or father or brother with prostate cancer have double the risk of developing prostate cancer. Therefore, these men should begin a discussion about prostate cancer screening in order to record a baseline PSA and DRE around age 40.
>•• IF A BIOPSY IS NEEDED
If it is determined that a prostate cancer biopsy is needed for further evaluation, biopsy procedures are available throughout Maine and elsewhere. What is important to understand is that when your physician advises you to have a biopsy, it is time to focus, study and gather the information necessary to understand all the options that are available to you.
Prior to having the biopsy, men ought to have a conversation with their physician about pain management for the biopsy. They should get an understanding of what will happen during the biopsy, information about what to expect post – the procedure, and direction as to how to interpret the results. Clearly, men should also expect to receive the emotional support needed.
>•• TREATMENT? OR WAIT?
In the Coalition, we also want to stress that it is imperative to avoid overtreatment. We ask that no one rush into any decisions and that they seek out nurse and patient navigators at various hospitals (a free service) and get second and even third physician opinions if needed before heading into any treatment. In order to gain a better understanding of all treatment options as well as the associated potential long term side effects of each, we encourage men to seek consultations with a urology surgeon and a radiation oncologist who specializes in prostate cancer.
For men with low-risk prostate cancer, or those with other serious health issues, active surveillance may be an appropriate treatment option.
The science of Prostate Cancer is changing and advancing daily. There is no rush to action needed.
>•• NO MEDICAL ADVICE FROM MCFPC
We NEVER give medical advice and seek always to work cooperatively with Maine physicians (and their partners in Massachusetts) along with the American Cancer Society(ACS). We work cooperatively with support groups (click here) https://mcfpc.org/ and we maintain the ONE2ONE, Confidential line (1-855-552-7200 ext. 801 ) where men can be matched with other men who are trained to support you and walk along beside you on your journey with Prostate Cancer (PCa).
>••WHO WE ARE AND WHY
The Maine Coalition to Fight Prostate Cancer (www.mcfpc.org) is a statewide, totally all-volunteer, nonprofit.
We are a qualifying 501(c)(3), which means donations to MCFPC are tax deductible as provided by Internal Revenue Service’s code of regulations. Therefore, 100% of all donated gifts of financial assistance are put to work on behalf of Maine men and their families.
>•• HOW YOU CAN HELP US, PLEASE
Would you consider supporting our efforts with a monetary donation or by volunteering? Reach out to us by calling 1-855-552-7200, where you can leave a message to connect with anyone, or all of us.