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Mid Coast Center for Community Health & Wellness Newsletter
September 2020
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Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Vaccinations and Immunizations

Prostate cancer is among the most common cancers diagnosed for men in Maine. While it is the second leading cause of cancer death among all men, most cases are treatable when found early, before the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. According to the American Cancer Society, one in nine men, will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

For men between the ages of 55-69, Mid Coast–Parkview Health recommends having a conversation with their doctors about prostate cancer screening and whether it is right for you. Some men may be at a higher risk for prostate cancer, and should start thinking about getting screened at a younger age, if they are African American or have a family history of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in a man’s prostate gland. This gland is a small, walnut-shaped organ and lies just below the man’s bladder. It usually grows slowly and can take years to grow large enough to cause any problems. The cancer cells can spread within the prostate, to nearby lymph nodes and other tissues, and to other parts of the body.

There are two types of screening tests for prostate cancer:

  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test – The test checks a man’s blood for high PSA levels, a marker for prostate cancer. High PSA levels also can indicate other conditions, including inflammation or infection of the prostate. Certain medicines, a patient’s medical history, and an enlarged prostate also can affect PSA levels.
  • Digital Rectum Exam (DRE) – This test is performed by a provider to feel the prostate for lumps or other abnormalities.

Men should make an informed decision with a healthcare provider about whether to be tested for prostate cancer. General guidelines include:

  • Age 40 to 54 years: Men at average risk aren't advised to get the PSA test, since testing in this age group causes more harm than good. Around age 45, men at higher risk may want to talk with their doctors about the pros and cons of testing before deciding whether to get the PSA test.
  • Age 55 to 69 years: Men who are thinking about getting the PSA test are advised to talk with their doctors about the pros and cons of testing before deciding whether to get the PSA test.

Mid Coast Hospital would also like to remind you that it is safe to resume your care. If you have a chronic illness, are awaiting a preventive procedure, or require immunizations, please reach out to your provider. To learn more about the safety measures in place at Mid Coast Hospital and Mid Coast Medical Group practices, please visit www.midcoasthealth.com/covid19/safety.

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