Prostate cancer survivor Robert Schverak of Satellite Beach discovered his condition during a 2004 prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and now serves as proof that, with proper care and monitoring, prostate cancer can be lived with for years.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which includes all aspects of prostate health. More than 30 million men suffer from prostate conditions that impact their quality of life. Each year, more than 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 30,000 will die from it.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for men in America. Prostate cancer, however, is treatable. Patients diagnosed with a localized or regional stage of prostate cancer have a nearly 100 percent, five-year survival rate.
Well-established risk factors for prostate cancer include increasing age (over 45), African ancestry, alcohol and tobacco use and a family history of prostate cancer.
Symptoms of prostate cancer include difficulty with several aspects of urination such as excessive urination at night, the urge to urinate, weak stream or pain in the bones.
About the size of a walnut, the prostate gland grows during puberty and then doesn’t change much until about age 40. Then, it begins growing again and might continue to grow with age, often causing BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the medical term for an enlarged prostate. Half of all men between the ages of 50 and 60 will develop it, and by the age of 80 about 90 percent of men will have BPH.
Symptoms of both BPH and prostate cancer are similar. There is no known link between BPH and prostate cancer.
Having and living with prostate cancer is best handled with the advice and compassion of others who also have gone through the ordeal.
Schverak formerly was involved with Man to Man Prostate, a now-inactive support group in Melbourne.
"It really helps to talk to others who know about it firsthand,’’ he said.