Early Detection Saves Lives: Prostate and Colorectal Cancer

Prostate cancer and colorectal cancer are two of the most common types of cancer affecting men. These cancers often do not present symptoms in their early stages, making early detection through regular screenings crucial.

Visiting the doctor regularly for early detection tests can make a significant difference in identifying and treating these cancers before they become serious problems.

La Hora del Café: Un Minuto de Salud with Dr. Javier Mora

Dr. Javier Mora is a radiation oncologist in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Inc.

As a bilingual physician, he is dedicated to including the most marginalized communities and advocating for equitable access to our healthcare system. His goal is to eradicate the health disparities that plague our neighborhoods.

Dr. Mora specializes in radiation oncology, treating cancer using various forms of radiation to detect and eliminate malignant cells.

Prostate Cancer and the PSA Test

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in the body.

An elevated PSA level can be a sign of prostate cancer, but it is not always the case. It is important to evaluate the results in the context of the patient, as other conditions can also increase PSA levels. Therefore, an elevated result requires further evaluation and often additional tests to confirm or rule out a cancer diagnosis.

Colorectal Cancer Detection

Several tests are available for the detection of colorectal cancer. One of the most common is the fecal occult blood test (FOBT). If this test is positive, it does not automatically mean that the patient has cancer. More studies are needed, and in many cases, a biopsy confirms the diagnosis.

Another effective method is a colonoscopy, a procedure performed by a gastroenterologist that allows direct visualization of the colon and identification of potential abnormalities.

The Importance of a Primary Care Physician

The primary care physician or healthcare provider plays a crucial role in the early detection of cancer. This professional can order initial tests, such as the PSA and the fecal test for colorectal cancer. Additionally, they can refer patients to specialists, such as gastroenterologists, for more specific procedures like a colonoscopy.

Tips for Early Detection

  1. Regular Doctor Visits:
    Keep regular appointments with your primary care physician to undergo early detection exams, especially if you have risk factors.
  2. PSA Tests:
    Consult about the PSA test if you are over 50 years old or have a family history of prostate cancer.
  3. Stool Tests and Colonoscopies:
    From the age of 45, consider undergoing colorectal cancer screening tests, such as the FOBT and colonoscopy.
  4. Referrals to Specialists:
    Ask your primary care physician to refer you to a specialist if more detailed tests are necessary.
  5. Education and Awareness:
    Stay informed about the symptoms and risk factors of prostate and colorectal cancer, and consult your doctor if you have any concerns.

Early detection is key in the fight against prostate and colorectal cancer. Regular screenings and maintaining open communication with your primary care physician can help identify these cancers in their early stages, significantly increasing the chances of successful treatment.

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