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Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

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September 2023| Volume 15 | Issue 10

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month! Law enforcement officers are encouraged to focus on all aspects of their health, including physical health concerns. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among American men—and while the field is diversifying in gender, law enforcement is still a male-dominated profession. Men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other cancer, including colon, kidney, melanoma, and stomach cancers combined. Police officers are exposed to occupational hazards and an increased amount of work-life stressors which, according to a 2011 National Institute of Health study, may put them at increased risk of cancer.

In the United States, one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. However, the likelihood of diagnoses increases for people who are any of the following:

  • Over the age of 50. The chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer increases rapidly with age. About 6 in 10 of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65.
  • African American. One in six African American men will develop prostate cancer, and African American men are more than twice as likely to die from the disease.
  • From a family with a history of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is among the most heritable of the major human cancers. It is estimated that 57 percent of prostate cancer risk is due to genetic factors.

The good news is that, once detected, prostate cancer is treatable. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, “More than 80 percent of all prostate cancers are detected when the cancer is in the prostate or the region around it, so treatment success rates are high compared to most other types of cancer in the body.” Five-year overall survival rates in the United States for men diagnosed with local or regional prostate cancer exceed 99 percent: the chances of men dying from prostate cancer is generally low. However, it is important to note that prostate cancer comes in many forms, and some prostate cancers can be more aggressive than others—so early detection and prevention are essential.

Steps can also be taken to help prevent prostate cancer. The Prostate Cancer Foundation has made the following recommendations to reduce your risks:

  1. Eat fewer calories and exercise more so that you maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Try to keep the amount of fat consumed from red meat and dairy products to a minimum.
  3. Watch your calcium intake—avoid taking supplemental doses of more than 1,200 mg per day, which is far above the recommended daily allowance.
  4. Eat more fish. Evidence from several studies suggest that fish can help protect against prostate cancer because they have “good fats,” particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid trans fatty acids (for example, in margarine).
  5. Incorporate cooked tomatoes (prepared with olive oil), which may be beneficial, and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) into many of your weekly meals. Soy-based foods and green tea are also potential dietary components that may be helpful.
  6. Avoid smoking for many reasons. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
  7. Seek medical treatment for stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and depression. Treating these conditions may save your life and will improve your survivorship with prostate cancer.
  8. Avoid over-supplementation with megavitamins. While a multivitamin is not likely to be harmful, you probably don’t need it if you follow a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils. Ask your doctor about herbal supplements as some may harm you or interfere with treatment.
  9. Relax and enjoy life. Reducing stress in the workplace and home will improve your survivorship and lead to a longer, happier life.
  10. For men 45 or older (40 or older for African American men or those with a family history of prostate cancer), discuss the risks and benefits of screening with a PSA blood test and, if indicated, a rectal examination, with your doctor.

For more on prostate cancer information and awareness, please visit the following websites:

In loving memory of Leroy Arthur Butler, Jr. (8/11/1947 – 1/10/2023)

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