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Almost everyone is aware of the pink ribbons, but only a few of us know what these little blue ribbons denote. Unlike their pink cousins that draw attention to breast cancer, blue ribbons symbolize a disease men would rather not confront – prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. after lung cancer. According to an estimate by the University of Colorado Hospital, about 218,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and almost one in six men will be affected with the disease during his lifetime. Given the gravity of the situation, it is but crucial to raise awareness about the disease that threatens to affect almost two men every five minutes in the U.S.

Healthcare Disparity
Despite the high rate of prevalence of prostate cancer in the United States, men’s health is often overlooked, compared to that of women. Prostate cancer awareness campaigns don’t receive as much funding as breast cancer programs. However, as men’s health is equally important to the progress of a country, it is indispensable to focus on improving their health and raising awareness about and funding for the disease in order to better serve prostate cancer patients.

Need for Prostate Cancer Awareness
Prostate cancer awareness groups are dedicated to the elimination of the disease and thus focus on education, funding, research on prostate cancer. This requires collaborative efforts on the part of both men and women to fight the disease with compassion, integrity, and innovation and raise funds for the development of programs related to public education, awareness, support of those affected, and research into the detection, prevention, and treatment of prostate cancer.

The disease, which is relatively slow growing, primarily affects men above the age of 50 and has no obvious symptoms. With 30 million men in the US living with prostate-related diagnosis, it is important to be aware of any potential symptoms. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • need to urinate frequently
  • inability to urinate
  • difficulty starting urination
  • weak or interrupted flow
  • painful ejaculation
  • difficulty having an erection
  • blood in urine
  • pain in the lower back or stiffness in upper thighs

Ideally men don’t realize they are affected by prostate problems until they reach their 50s. It is best not to wait until you turn 60 to find out if you are one in six men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Having an annual prostate exam, especially prostate-specific antigen test if you have a family history of prostate cancer, might save your life. The first annual PSA test creates a benchmark against which the future tests can be compared to understand your situation.

The idea is to pay equal attention and importance to men’s health and focus on raising awareness regarding the same so that we can put a check on the rising prostate cancer statistics.