Prostate Exams Hit the Mainstream Media
Prostate Exams Hit the Mainstream Media
The importance of men in their older years getting their prostate examined is well known throughout the world. As soon as you hit the age of 40, you should begin getting checked, or in cases where prostate cancer is in your family history, even earlier than 40. In an effort to make it well known that men should ensure their health and safety, Today hosts, Matt Lauer and Al Roker received prostate exams live on television last week.
Prior to the live examinations, another host, Samantha Guthrie, made it known that the show wasn’t going to make it look like a show on the Learning Channel, but still expressed the importance of getting the exam. In the case of these live exams, it mostly consisted of Lauer and Roker walking into a room, shutting the door and getting an examination by the doctor before quickly reappearing through the closed door.
The buildup on the show took more time than the exams themselves and while other NBC personalities like Kathie Lee and Hoda made jokes about the event, the bigger picture was missed. This was a ratings stunt performed by the morning talk show, but it still had more meaning than many events in the past. Prostate cancer is the leading cause of death in men in the United States and despite the network’s attempt to instill humor into the situation, is not a laughing matter.
One aspect of the event which many found distasteful is the attempted humor by Dr. David Samadi. He joked about having to lose five pounds to be able to get his finger small enough for the exams and even joked about using two fingers on Roker to be sure.
Prostate Cancer Facts
For millions of families around the world, prostate cancer has been something that has wreaked havoc. Each year, more than 238,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and the number of men who dies each year is close to 30,000. There are millions of prostate cancer survivors around the world, but the only real way to ensure you are protected and can fight the cancer is to get checked regularly. Those who don’t get checked regularly face a higher likelihood of developing prostate cancer that is tougher to fight.
Other notable facts include:
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer that men in the United States are diagnosed with, regardless of ethnicity and race.
- For many races including African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Caucasian and Hispanics, it is the cancer with the second most deaths in the United States.
- For Asian/Pacific Islander men, prostate cancer is the fourth leading cause of death.
- Compared to Caucasian males, prostate cancer is more common in African Americans.
- In 2010, nearly 200,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 28,500 men died.
Prostate cancer has many different treatment methods that can be used to help rid your body of the bad cells. While the Today show made light of the situation, there are many serious risks that are involved with the cancer and your best chance at survival of prostate cancer is early detection. What are some of the most popular methods of treatment for those with prostate cancer?
Radiation therapy is a treatment that used high-powered energy to help your body kill and fight the cancer cells that have attacked your system. There are two different types of treatments you can use including external beam radiation and brachytherapy. External beam radiation is when the radiation comes from outside the body. You will lie on a table and a machine will move around your body sending the high-powered rays into your body. This treatment is usually done five times a week for several weeks. Brachytherapy occurs when the radiation is put inside your body. There are numerous radioactive seeds the size of rice placed inside your body in the prostate tissue. Over the course of an extended period of time, these pellets let out radiation and eventually, they stop pushing out the radiation and can be left in your body.
Hormone therapy is one of the most used treatment methods used to fight prostate cancer. This therapy is used to cut the production of testosterone. The importance of this is that the prostate cancer cells continue to grow because of testosterone. By cutting off the production of testosterone, the cancer cells should die off or slower the pace of growth. Much like with radiation therapy, there are numerous types of hormone therapy you can use. You can use medications that block your body from producing testosterone including luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) which tell the testicles not to produce testosterone. There are also medications used to prevent testosterone from reaching the cancer cells. These medications are known as anti-androgens and are usually used with LH-RH treatment.
You can also have surgery to remove prostate cancer from your system. Your doctor may tell you that you should have the entire prostate gland removed, as well as the surrounding tissues and even lymph nodes. There are numerous surgical procedures you can have for this treatment including with a robot-assistant, incisions in your abdomen, laparoscopic prostatectomy and with an incision between your anus and scrotum.