“After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men,” Dr. Connett said. “Every man needs to know his risk factors and the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening.”

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Lake Regional Urologist Bradley Connett, M.D., is encouraging men to talk with their doctors about this disease so they can make informed decisions about their prostate health.

“After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men,” Dr. Connett said. “Every man needs to know his risk factors and the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening.”

Prostate cancer kills more than 200,000 men in the United States every year. According to the American Cancer Society, there is no question that screening can help find many prostate cancers early, but there are still questions about whether the benefits of screening outweigh the risks for most men.

“Most medical groups recommend men talk with their doctors to decide if screening is right for them,” Dr. Connett said. “If cancer is found, immediate treatment may or may not be necessary, depending on the cancer’s stage, the man’s age and other factors. Men should understand immediate treatment might not be needed before getting screened so they are ready to discuss their results and options.”

The reason immediate treatment is not always recommended is that most prostate cancers found by screening are small and slow-growing.

“Screening, by definition, is done before symptoms appear, so it tends to catch prostate cancer early,” Dr. Connett said. “In these cases, men and their doctors might choose active monitoring instead of immediate treatment. Treatment can have serious side effects, and we want to avoid treating a cancer that may never develop into a true health threat. However, there are cases where screening finds a more advanced or aggressive cancer that could cause serious problems or even be fatal if not treated right away.”

The following facts about prostate cancer screening from the U.S. Department of Disease Control and Prevention are a good start for prostate cancer education.

Basics of prostate cancer screening

One screening test for prostate cancer is a blood test, which can be abnormal for several reasons besides prostate cancer.

The only way to know if an abnormal test is due to cancer is to do a biopsy.

A biopsy is a minor surgery to get small pieces of the prostate to look at under a microscope.

If the biopsy shows there are cancer cells, then your doctor will discuss treatment options.

Treatment of prostate cancer

• close monitoring and follow-up visits

• radiation

• surgery to remove the prostate

The blood test to screen for prostate cancer will be available for $15 at the Osage Beach Health Fair, scheduled from 7:30 to 11 a.m.Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Elk’s Lodge, 5161 Osage Beach Parkway. Learn more about the health fair at www.lakeregional.com/osagebeachfair.

To make an appointment with Dr. Connett at Lake Regional Urology, call 573-302-3111. To view his online bio, visitwww.lakeregional.com/physicians.

Questions Men Can Ask Their Doctors about Prostate Cancer

Am I at greater risk for prostate cancer?

At what age should I start to think about screening for prostate cancer?

If I get my blood test and it is not normal, what other things could I have besides prostate cancer?

What is a biopsy, and how is it done?

What are the side effects or risks of a biopsy?

If my biopsy shows some cancer cells, what does that mean?

What are the side effects or risks of each treatment (close monitoring with follow-up appointments; radiation; or surgery to remove the prostate)?