By: Lee Hillstrom
It’s fall, and many of us are thinking of fall colors, back to school, and the return of football. We should also be thinking of our health because the months of September and October are prostate and breast cancer awareness months. While we keep hearing of advances in treatment, we should also know that cancer is the leading cause of death in Wisconsin. Nationwide there will be 233,000 new cases of both breast and prostate cancer this year.
We have awareness months to draw attention to being tested. If there are family histories of breast or prostate cancer, being tested starting at the age of 40 should be considered. By the age of 45 for women and 50 for men, you should begin having annual testing.
A first-degree relative’s odds of getting prostate cancer increase with a father or brother having the disease or also with a mother or sister with breast cancer. It also works the other way. BRCA1 and BRCA2 have long been known to result in higher risks of breast and ovarian cancer in women, but have now also been found to increase the risk of early prostate cancer.
A healthy lifestyle, the environment, and how far north we live also affect the odds of us getting cancer. For men, every year we age our odds of getting prostate cancer increases. If you have prostate cancer or know someone who does and has treatment decisions to make or is interested in reducing the side effects caused by treatment, there is an education and support group in this area called Us TOO Fox Cities. With three cancer centers in our area we are able to bring in great speakers, and with the experiences of our large membership we have members at all treatment levels to help those who are in similar situations.
We meet from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM the third Tuesday of each month at 1080 Breezewood Lane in Neenah (Fire station # 31). There is no charge and wives or any guests are welcome to attend with you. If you would like more information or if maybe you don’t want to attend a meeting but would like to talk with someone who has experienced prostate cancer twice, contact Lee Hillstrom at 920-722-0774 or email Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.<