Detecting these diseases at an early stage may make treatment more effective
Playing a proactive role in your health is important. While early cancer detection doesn’t guarantee a positive prognosis, it can improve a patient’s outcome in certain cases.
In recognition of Prostate and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month this September, we’ve compiled some of the most common signs and symptoms for these two types of cancer. It’s important to remember, however, that the symptoms of one disease can also be the sign of another illness. Speak with your doctor regarding any major changes in your health.
“Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men,” explains the American Cancer Society (ACS). More than 10 percent of men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
While very early prostate cancer rarely shows symptoms, certain signs will become pronounced as the disease advances. These may include “problems urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night,” according to the ACS. Blood in urine or semen is another sign. Pain in certain places can also be a symptom, such as “discomfort in the pelvic area” and “bone pain,” reports the Mayo Clinic.
“Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecologic cancer in the United States,” reports the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Between one and two percent of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime.
Like prostate cancer, very early stage ovarian cancer often doesn’t exhibit signs or symptoms. As it develops, however, patients may experience abdominal bloating or swelling, quickly feeling full when eating, and weight loss. The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition lists additional symptoms on their website, which include fatigue, back pain, and constipation.
Another important piece of data: hereditary prostate and ovarian cancer, as well as breast cancer, are associated with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Although rare, these mutations can be passed on from either parent and can affect the risk of cancers in both women and men, notes Susan G. Komen. Consult your doctor to determine if a BRCA gene test is appropriate based on your family’s medical history.
For more information about each disease — from additional signs and symptoms to available courses of treatment and current statistics — visit the ACS’s websites for prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. These resources also provide the latest guidelines for screenings as well as common treatment side effects and next steps after treatment.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, or another advanced illness, Fifth Season Financial may be able to help. Our Funds for Living and Giving (FLAG) program provides patients with an advance on their life insurance policy, which can be used without restriction. FLAG also preserves funds for beneficiaries to receive in the future. To learn more about the program, contact us today.
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