News and Information

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month: Are You Informed?


CaroMont Health Offering Free Prostate Cancer Screening

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and the fourth most diagnosed cancer at CaroMont Health. In 2015, CaroMont Cancer Center diagnosed 79 men with prostate cancer. However, the good news is that if diagnosed early, prostate cancer is highly treatable and most men go on to live health lives.

In observance of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, CaroMont Cancer Center and Carolina Urology are teaming up to offer free prostate screening for men ages 40 to 75. The free screening will be held on Monday, September 26 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at CaroMont Outpatient Surgery at 2555 Court Drive in Gastonia. Screenings are available by appointment only to the first 350 callers. To register for a screening, call 704.834.2522.

Being well versed about the subject and whether or not screening is the best option should be a discussion between men and their healthcare provider. The American Cancer Society recommends annual screenings beginning at age 50 for men who are at average risk. For higher risk patients—African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65)—screening should begin at age 45. Men who are considered even higher risk or those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age, it is recommended to start screening as early as 40. Click here to learn more about tobacco cessation.

Though no test is perfect, routine, annual screenings can help to detect prostate cancer early on before the disease progresses. In addition to annual screenings, there are things men can do to help prevent the progression of prostate cancer and live cancer-free lives.

Know your family history
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to understanding your family history of cancer. Some cancers, including prostate cancer, run in families. If you have a first degree relative—a father, grandfather, uncle or brother—who has had prostate cancer, your odds of getting it are nearly double.

It’s important to share this information with your family doctor and to get screened every year. Also, individuals with a family history may be eligible for genetic testing, which identifies individuals at increased risk of cancer, in order to promote awareness, early detection and cancer prevention. To learn more about genetics testing and counseling services at CaroMont, click here.

Choose a healthy diet
We already know that a healthy, low-fat diet can reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity among other diseases. Current research is now pointing to better nutrition as a means of preventing cancer too. Additionally, a healthy diet promotes greater energy, improves mood and promotes an overall better quality of life. While no single food can protect you against cancer by itself, strong evidence shows that a diet filled with a variety of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans helps lower risk for many cancers. Below are some of the top cancer-fighting or “super” foods:

  • Broccoli, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts: These cruciferous vegetables have phytochemicals that reduce oxygen free radicals (highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm cells in the body), which can lower your risk for prostate cancer and its aggression.
  • Raspberries and blueberries: Berries are an excellent source of vitamins C and K, manganese and a good source of fiber. Blueberries are among the fruits highest in antioxidant power because of the many phytochemicals they contain.
  • Tomatoes: Great for salads, pastas and just about any dish, tomatoes are a rich source of a phytochemical called lycopene, which attacks free radicals helping the body lower the risk of prostate cancer and its aggression
  • Pomegranates: Specifically pomegranate juice is rich in ellagic acid and has been scientifically shown to slow prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland.
  • Green tea: Green tea has been used since the beginning of time as both a beverage and for medicinal purposes. Both black and greens teas contains very potent antioxidants including polyphenols and flavonoids.
  • Coffee: Coffee has become one of the most popular drinks in across the world and if drunk in moderation, is a good source of the B vitamin riboflavin and an antioxidant.
  • Citrus fruits: these contain favonoids and monoterpene, which help protect against DNA-damaging free radicals.
  • Black beans: beans are rich in fiber, which help in weight management efforts.
  • Whole grains: Great sources of fiber and magnesium, whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread are also hearty and filling.
  • Fish: Eat more fish. Several studies show that fish can help protect against prostate cancer because they have "good fat" particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Stay away from trans fatty acids or partially hydrogenated oil commonly found in margarine or fried foods.

Physical Activity
Get up and move! Incorporating some form of physical activity for 30 minutes, at least three times a week, is essential for maintaining a healthy body, and may also help reduce the odds of developing prostate cancer. Studies have shown that men who are overweight with high insulin levels when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to die from the disease. Talk to your doctor before you start any type of exercise. Keep in mind, physical activity doesn’t mean you have to be in the gym. Choose something you enjoy doing so it doesn’t become a chore.

Quitting Tobacco
Tobacco use is a leading cause of cancer and of death. People who use tobacco products or are exposed to second-hand smoke on a regular basis are at a higher risk of getting cancer because tobacco contains many harmful chemicals that can damage DNA. There is no safe level of tobacco use and the benefits of quitting smoking and using tobacco are significant. Because of the extreme addiction associated with using tobacco, most people need assistance to stop for good. There are a number of resources and programs available to individuals who are ready to quit like CaroMont’s QuitSmart program, a program that combines personalized coaching, relaxation and a toolkit to help people on their journey to live a tobacco-free life. Visit for information about QuitSmart and upcoming classes.

Prostate cancer is a difficult subject to bring up with your doctor, but not talking about it doesn’t make it go away. It’s important to connect with your friends, family and colleagues to talk about the importance of early detection and annual screenings. You just might save someone’s life or even your own.

Did you know?

  • African-American men are 1.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than Caucasian men, and they are also nearly 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease.2
  • About 1 man in every 39 will die of prostate cancer.3
  • More than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.3

CaroMont Cancer Center, Eating for Cancer Prevention. PowerPoint Presentation.
3Prostate Cancer Foundation (2009-2015). Prostate Cancer: Straight Talk for African American Men and Their Families, 3.

Categories: Health