Early Detection of Cancer Can Save Lives
M. D. Anderson and Randalls promote gynecologic and prostate cancer awarenessM. D. Anderson News Release 09/19/07
September is Prostate and Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month and The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Randalls Food Markets urge men and women to take a proactive role in maintaining their health by knowing the risk factors and symptoms of prostate and gynecologic cancers.
“It is important to be aware of symptoms and listen to your body,” stresses Therese B. Bevers, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention at M. D. Anderson.
“Partnerships with companies like Randalls provide valuable, educational opportunities, and health and well-being begin with each individual knowing their bodies and being aware of changes.”
M. D. Anderson suggests the following important steps to help maintain gynecologic and prostate health:
- Follow recommended screening guidelines
- Know personal risk factors for gynecologic and prostate cancers
- Pay attention to your body
- Discuss persistent symptoms with a physician
At every Houston Randalls in-store pharmacy this month, a leaflet with information on common symptoms of gynecologic cancers will be stapled to prescription bags. The leaflet asks women what these symptoms have in common:
- Irregular vaginal bleeding before and after menopause
- Change in bowel habits
- Increased urinary frequency
The answer is that they are all associated with cervical, endometrial or ovarian cancer. If you notice any postmenopausal vaginal bleeding or one or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, see your doctor, especially if you are post-menopausal.
“If men or women see a change in their bodies of any kind, they should tell their doctor,” Bevers says.
Ovarian cancer – The leading cause of death among gynecologic cancers, ovarian cancer has already spread beyond the ovary at the time of diagnosis in approximately three-fourths of patients. Although, in many cases, there are no symptoms until the cancer has reached advanced stages, women would benefit from knowing the facts about the disease.
Endometrial cancer – With more than 42,000 women diagnosed each year, endometrial cancer is the most common type of gynecologic cancer. There is currently no screening method to identify endometrial cancer, but women should know common symptoms, such as bleeding, and report them to their doctor immediately.
Cervical cancer – With just over 11,000 new cases expected for 2007, cervical cancer is not as common as ovarian and endometrial cancers because it is the only gynecologic cancer that can be prevented with regular screening (the Pap test).
Prostate cancer – With more than 200,000 estimated new cases expected in 2007, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. Frequently, prostate cancer has no symptoms, but annual screening tests (the PSA test and digital rectal exams) can detect the disease, which is more than 90 percent treatable when diagnosed early. Men should discuss the benefits and limitations of screening with their doctor to make an informed decision about testing.
For more information on prevention strategies for gynecologic and prostate cancers, visit Cancer Awareness and Prevention.
For information on screening services for prostate and gynecologic cancers, contact M. D. Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center at 713-745-8040.