Man Up and Invest in Your Health
Dr. Crystal A. Moore
With the year winding down and 2018 quickly approaching, many of us are reflecting on our goals and what we want to change in the new year. A great goal that we should all try to work on is to live a healthier life. For 2018, I want to challenge African-American men to educate themselves about prostate cancer and be proactive about this cancer affecting them at a much higher rate than other men.
Black men are 1.6 times more likely to get prostate cancer and more than twice as likely to die from the disease than white men. In fact, 1 in 6 African-American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, and it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. With these statistics in mind, it is imperative for husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons to be aware of the risks of prostate cancer and be vigilant about getting screened.
In addition to race, there are several known risk factors for developing prostate cancer including:
- Age: Advancing age is a factor, with approximately 60 percent of prostate cancer being diagnosed in men older than 65 years of age.
- Family History: Family history plays a big role in prostate cancer diagnoses. Men with multiple affected relatives, brothers of men diagnosed with prostate cancer, and men with relatives diagnosed at a young age all have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer in their lifetime.
- Genetics: Genetic mutations such as in the BRCA gene (usually associated with breast and ovarian cancer) and HNCPP (often associated with colorectal cancers) also increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends that Black men talk with their health care provider about getting screened at age 45. That age is reduced to 40 if you have two or more close relatives who had prostate cancer before the age of 65. And certainly, see your physician if you are experiencing any unusual issues with urination or there is blood in your urine or semen. Although these symptoms can result from other conditions, they should be evaluated by your physician for a proper diagnosis.
There are no early warning symptoms for prostate cancer. That’s why getting screened is so important. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a blood test used to screen for prostate cancer. Since other conditions can also increase PSA levels, depending on a person’s test results, additional testing, follow up, digital rectal exam (DRE), or biopsy may be suggested.
For men diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are several lifestyle choices that can help them live a healthier and happier life, such as:
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being at a healthy weight helps improve virtually every health condition.
- Follow a Nutritious Diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains can assist with weight loss. Check with your physician about any over the counter supplements or herbal treatments you use to ensure they will not negatively impact your treatments.
- Exercise: Increased physical activity improves both physical and emotional well-being during and after treatment for prostate cancer.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking has no health benefits, so kicking the habit is another way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve your overall well-being.
As a pathologist, I diagnose prostate cancer on almost a daily basis. I look forward to the day when we close the morbidity and mortality gap for African-American men impacted by prostate cancer. So, as you begin to think about what your goals are for the new year, keep your health in mind. Let’s spread the word in our community so we can continue to grow and thrive together.
You can follow Crystal Moore, MD, PhD, FCAP at www.DrCrystalMoore.com, or on social media (@DrCrystalAMoore) for more health information and to receive a Prescription For Life (#RxForLife) to maximize your wellness in body, mind, soul, and spirit. Stay tuned for her soon to be released book, Fast Forward Through The Valley: A 40-Day Devotional to Victory.
Dr. Moore is a native of the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, where she resides with her two teenage sons.
Dr. Moore professed, even as a young child, that she wanted to be a physician. For her, medicine is not just a profession, but also a calling. Following that calling led her to pursue a dual doctorate, physician-scientist, MD/PhD degree at the Medical College of Virginia. Her Ph.D. was awarded in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. She completed her residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at Duke University and is a board-certified Fellow of the College of American Pathologists.
As a sought after speaker, Dr. Moore delivers complex information in a highly understandable and remarkably humorous manner. She speaks to the total person and her message heals the body, mind, soul, and spirit. Dr. Moore believes and conveys that health is wealth-not to be taken for granted, but to be actively pursued. Accordingly, she guides individuals and audiences on a journey to wellness and abundant life.