This Father’s Day, women should start a conversation to help Dad get checked
State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx/Westchester) today urged New York women to help the men in their lives take better care of themselves, especially by encouraging them to speak with their physicians about prostate cancer. Between the demands of work, caring for loved ones, and the upkeep of homes and cars, many men put off getting an annual checkup, she noted.
"In recognition of Father’s Day this year, I believe the greatest gift we can give our fathers -- and all the men in our lives who have acted as a father figure -- is to make their health and well-being a top priority," Senator Hassell-Thompson said.
According to the American Cancer Society, about one in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. African-American men are at special risk for the disease, with the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of male cancer-related death in the United States, but more than 99 percent of patients survive if the disease is detected and treated early.
Prostate cancer screening typically involves two steps: a blood test that measures prostate-specific antigen, or PSA; and a physical examination of the prostate, called a digital rectal exam, or DRE. While the American Cancer Society does not support routine testing for prostate cancer, they do suggest men speak with their doctors about the possible benefits of screening.
"There are no symptoms in the early stages of prostate cancer, which is why speaking with a physician is so important," said Senator Hassell-Thompson. "When it comes to matters of personal health, women must help the men in their lives, who are often less likely than women to see a doctor or be proactive about their health."
"Now would be an ideal time to start this lifesaving conversation," she added.
A screening test for prostate cancer takes only 10 minutes, and New York State law requires health insurance policies to cover diagnostic screening.
"Men’s health problems aren’t solely about men, since their health impacts the lives of spouses, children and other loved ones," Senator Hassell-Thompson concluded. "Taking the time for an annual physical exam, a yearly tune up if you will, is part of being a family man. It’s something you do for those who would be shattered to lose you."
For more information on prostate cancer, call the American Cancer Society toll-free at 1-800-ACS-2345, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or visit their web site at www.cancer.org.