By: Dan Sperling, MD
September is a time when leaves turn to warm colors—and our minds should turn to thoughts of prostate health. September is National Prostate Health Month. Specifically, the week of September 17-24 is officially designated as Prostate Cancer Awareness Week.
September is an invigorating month. The lazy days of summer are fading, kids have started back to school, and the gradual cooling of the days brings an energizing crispness to the air. It’s a good month to check in with the “State of the Union” when it comes to our overall wellness: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. For men, it’s a perfect time to take stock of what our bodies are telling us. Are we coming off of summer a little heavier, flabbier, more sluggish?
There is ample reason to think about prostate health. According to the 2014 edition of Cancer Facts & Figures, an annual publication of the American Cancer Society, an estimated 233,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and more than 29,000 men are expected to die from this disease. Autumn is a perfect time to schedule a physical, and if you’re approaching or well into midlife, to think seriously about getting a baseline multiparametric MRI of the prostate—why wait till New Year’s Day to make resolutions?
Speaking of resolutions, September is an ideal time to make a financial commitment, however small, to prostate cancer research. Many events that occur this month are terrific opportunities to contribute time and/or money to prostate cancer education, awareness, and support organizations. All around the country this month, activities like 5K runs and other fundraisers are taking place. I am not recommending one specific group or foundation over another. From the local to the national level, nonprofit prostate cancer organizations are easy to find online where you can examine their mission statements and the work they do. They may each have a unique emphasis or programs, but what they all share is a need for donations.
Take advantage of National Prostate Health Month to review your own well-being, and at the same time, help the fiscal wellness of a program or organization. Let’s all work together to eventually make prostate cancer a disease of the past.