The internet is an abundant source of information; however, researching medical information can quickly lead to an all-consuming black hole of misinformation. When it comes to learning about prostate cancer online, myths can become intertwined with facts, making it difficult to distinguish what’s grounded in science and what’s simply untrue. At Giddy we focus on removing stigmas and debunking fiction from fact. Let’s look at common prostate cancer myths and replace them with accurate information.
Myth #1: The PSA exam is a definitive prostate cancer diagnosis.
The PSA exam measures levels of prostate-specific antigen in the bloodstream. High levels of this antigen are an indicator of a potential health issue, but it’s not a clear cancer diagnosis. Elevated PSA levels can also be attributed to urinary tract infections, prostatitis (inflamed or swollen prostate gland) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Since this exam is a relatively simple blood test, it’s utilized as the first step in a more comprehensive prostate cancer screening. If an exam is returned with a high PSA score, further testing like a biopsy, will likely be ordered by a physician.
Myth #2: Symptoms are immediately noticeable in early stages of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is asymptomatic. Unfortunately, this means symptoms aren’t usually present at its early stages. This cancer type is mostly detected via routine checkups; not necessarily because of reported symptoms. When symptoms do occur, it’s most likely because the prostate cancer has metastasized, but not always. Men report increased or lowered urination frequency, painful ejaculation, back or hip pain, and erectile dysfunction as common symptoms in more developed prostate cancer stages. Early detection via different medical testing options is ideal for addressing prostate cancer as soon as possible.
Myth #3: Prostate cancer doesn’t affect younger men.
Prostate cancer can actually affect men in their 40’s. While the likelihood of developing prostate cancer increases with age, it’s not a guaranteed. Reports suggest that 1 in 38 men between the ages of 40 to 58 is diagnosed with prostate cancer. Routine screening is recommended for all men, especially if other risk factors like previous family health history or other health issues are present.
Myth #4: Prostate cancer treatment always causes erectile dysfunction.
ED may occur after radiation or surgery, which is part of prostate cancer treatment. However, it does not occur in all men. Many factors may contribute to possible ED after prostate cancer treatment like a man’s age and physical health, along with a surgeon’s particular skill set. It’s helpful and can provide some peace of mind to discuss a doctor’s previous patient outcomes and surgery experience.
If ED becomes a post-treatment symptom, there are plenty of options a man can consider. At Giddy, we’ve created a discreet wearable device developed by an expert team of urologists, engineers and mathematicians to treat erectile dysfunction. It’s prescription-free, which many men prefer, especially if they’re already taking medication and want to avoid adding yet another to their regimen.
As we near the end of Prostate Cancer Awareness month, we’d like to encourage all men to increase their awareness, and take steps toward improving their overall health. It’s important to bring any questions you may have about prostate cancer to your physician. There are no wrong questions, but there are correct answers.