September busy month for cancer awareness

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, according to the American Cancer Society. About 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2019, and about 31,620 deaths will occur from the disease. Prostate cancer traditionally grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, which produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Other types of prostate cancer, however, are aggressive and can spread quickly. If detected early – when it’s still confined to the prostate gland – prostate cancer has a better chance of successful treatment.

Prostate cancer may cause no signs of symptoms in its early stages, according to the ACS. In more advanced stages, signs and symptoms include trouble urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, blood in semen, discomfort in the pelvic area, bone pain and erectile dysfunction. Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with it do not die from it. More than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

About 22,530 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer this year, said the ACS, and nearly 13,980 women will die from the disease. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than other cancer of the female reproductive system.

Ovarian cancer often goes undetected until it has spread within the pelvis and abdomen. At this late stage, ovarian cancer is more difficult to treat, said the ACS. Early-stage ovarian cancer, in which the disease is confined to the ovary, is more likely to be treated successfully. Surgery and chemotherapy are generally used to treat ovarian cancer.

Early-stage ovarian cancer rarely causes any symptoms. Advanced-stage ovarian cancer may cause few and non-specific symptoms that are often mistaken for more common benign conditions. Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may include abdominal bloating or swelling, quickly feeling full when eating, weight loss, discomfort in the pelvis area, changes in bowel habits, and a frequent need to urinate.

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