Did you see the Dr. Oz Show last Monday? The good doctor emphasized the importance of keeping track of one’s numbers. Specifically:
• Your waist measurement should be no more than 1/2 your height in inches, i.e., a person 5’10” (70 inches) tall should have a waistline of 35 inches or less.
• Your fasting blood sugar should be no higher than 100.
• Your blood pressure should be no higher than 115 / 75.
It’s all good information and we encourage everyone to make these your goals. But – what he didn’t say, what he couldn’t say, what no one can say – is what a man’s PSA number should be. There’s good reason for that.
An isolated PSA number, absent any prior numbers for comparison, cannot tell us whether a man is at risk of Prostate Cancer. This is why we consistently advise all men to get their first PSA blood test no later than age 40 and at age 35 if they have a brother or father who had this cancer.
You see, the PSA number is only part of the information necessary to do a proper diagnosis. Other pertinent information can include the following symptoms:
- Weak or intermittent urination
- Frequent urination (especially at night)
- Trouble starting urination
- Painful urination
- Pain during ejaculation
- Painful bowel movements
- Bloody semen and/or urine
- Persistent pain in the pelvis, hips or back
Contrarily, these symptoms, absent a PSA history, may be signs of BPH (Benign Prostate Hyperplasia) which is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate, commonly related to age. But, a friend of mine has had BPH since his mid-20’s.
As men age, the prostate gland can swell from its normal walnut size to the size of a lemon. This enlargement can contribute to the above symptoms. By age 80, 90% of men will experience this.
A Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) is a simple, 10-second way to determine the size of a prostate gland.
Please continue to follow the progress of the Prostate Cancer Pony Express, a nationwide awareness event our donors have helped to make possible.
Walnut or lemon? It’s time to find out.