Prostate Cancer Myths

by | Feb 26, 2021 | Prostate Cancer

There are so many prostate cancer myths out there making it confusing to distinguish between fact and fiction.  

That’s why the experts at the CyberKnife Center of Miami compiled a list of prostate cancer myths and facts to set the record straight.

Myth 1:  It is an Old Man’s Disease

Fact: While it’s not common for men under 40 to get prostate cancer, it can happen. According to the American Cancer Society, the average age of diagnosis is 66. Six in 10 cases are diagnosed in men older than 65.  

That’s why it’s important to establish annual exams so your doctor can get a baseline and monitor you.  If you notice any changes or symptoms at any age, get checked by your doctor.  

Myth 2:  I Don’t Have Prostate Cancer Symptoms so I Don’t Have Prostate Cancer

Fact: This is flat-out wrong. Prostate cancer is one of the most asymptomatic cancers there is. That means oftentimes a man might have prostate cancer and not even know it because there are no symptoms.  

While men can get symptoms like changes in urination, erectile dysfunction, pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs or blood in the urine or semen, they don’t always.  That’s why regular screenings with blood tests and physical exams are key to early detection. 

Myth 3: It Doesn’t Run in My Family so I Don’t Have to Worry

Fact: If you have a family history, you are two to three more times likely to get it according to WebMD. But if NO ONE in your family has ever had prostate cancer, that doesn’t mean you’re not at risk.

While family history does raise the odds of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, one in nine American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. African-American men are 74% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease.

Myth 4: PSA Testing Isn’t Helpful at Diagnosing Prostate Cancer

Fact: That’s not the case at all  

According to Weill Cornell Medicine, the prostate specific antigen or PSA test is the best way to test for early-stage disease. Men with a family history should get a baseline PSA test by the age of 40 if not earlier and repeat the test every three to four years.  African-American men should consider getting this simple blood test at age 40 or younger because of the high incidence of the disease in this population. 

Myth 5: A Pregnancy Test Can Detect Prostate Cancer

Fact: Absolutely NOT.

While there are stories of men taking a pregnancy test and discovering testicular cancer because pregnancy tests look for hormones, a pregnancy test will not detect prostate cancer and should not be used as a reliable test for anything other than pregnancy. Scientists in the United Kingdom are however working on a urine test that can predict the aggressiveness of prostate cancer.

Myth 6: Vasectomies Cause Prostate Cancer

Fact: While having a vasectomy was once thought to increase a man’s risk for prostate cancer, research has determined a vasectomy will NOT increase a man’s chance of getting the disease.  

However, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, since having a vasectomy means getting checked more often by a urologist, it can lead to more detection of prostate cancer sooner and that’s always a good thing. The earlier it’s detected, the easier it usually can be treated.

Myth 7: I Can’t Have A Baby After Prostate Cancer

Fact: The prostate is vital for reproduction 

And prostate cancer treatment can cause infertility issues. If this is a concern, talk to your doctor about freezing sperm ahead of any treatment so you can still expand your family afterward if you choose to do so.

Myth 8: More Sex Increases the Risk of Developing Prostate Cancer

Fact: This is just WRONG.

Ejaculation itself is NOT linked to prostate cancer.  In fact, some studies show that men who have more frequent ejaculations have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Myth 9: Prostate Cancer Treatment will Ruin Your Sex Life and Cause Impotence and Incontinence

Fact: While treatment for prostate cancer can affect sexual and urinary function that is not always the case. Surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and researchers are constantly working on ways to minimize long-term effects and improve a prostate cancer patient’s outcome and quality of life.

According to the prostate cancer experts at the CyberKnife Center of Miami, that’s especially true when using cutting-edge radiation technology like CyberKnife, also known as stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT. CyberKnife’s targeted, missile guided technology destroys the cancerous tumors while sparing surrounding healthy tissue and vital organs. 

The radiation from Cyberknife stays focused only on the tumor and actually follows it as it moves naturally, so there is much less risk of burning nearby areas like the anus or testicles. Because it’s so precise in targeting only the tumor, there’s also a reduced risk of impotence and urinary incontinence. And sexual function remains the same for most patients after treatment. 

Myth 10:  Surgery Is the Only Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Fact: This Is So Very Wrong   

This is one of the most believed prostate cancer myths out there because even your doctor may say so. However, surgery is just one option. Doctors also use chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, and sometimes they take a wait-and-see approach.  Also, a combination of therapies can be used. It’s important to talk to your oncologist about all your treatment options and choose what’s best for your particular needs.  

And if you want a second opinion, which is always another smart idea, the experts at CyberKnife Miami are here to help.

At the CyberKnife Center of Miami we have successfully treated hundreds of prostate cancer patients with excellent results. And worldwide, hundreds of thousands more have been treated using CyberKnife technology with great success. If you would like to find out more about prostate cancer treatment with CyberKnife, call us at 305-279-2900 or go to our prostate cancer website now for more information.

Main image by Nick Youngson and RM Media, LTD.