Now that I’ve got your attention, the real conversation is about screening for prostate cancer, but sex and sexuality are very much related. If you had a chance to read the article I referenced in Tuesday’s post entitled “Culture, Black Men, and Prostate Cancer: What Is Reality?” one of the reasons black men gave for NOT getting screened for prostate cancer is their concern about sexuality.
The prostate – pronounced prah-STATE, not prah-STRATE (y’all know what I’m talkin’ about) – is a small, walnut-shaped gland situated at the base of the bladder (see picture below). It produces a milky fluid that helps protect the sperm during ejaculation; the prostatic fluid makes up about 75% of the volume of semen. The prostate has a few muscle fibers that also help force out the semen during ejaculation.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, after skin cancer. Fortunately, it can be detected by screening exams. Some are embarrassed by the way the exam is done.
Some men refuse to have a physician put a finger in their rectum. They think it is demeaning or has some sort of sexual connotation. If women felt that way about cancer screening, they would NEVER get a mammogram to detect breast cancer or a pap smear to look for cancer of the cervix (the opening to the uterus). Men – you just have to get over it!! It’s a short exam that can save your life, particularly if you are at risk. And guess what – black men have the HIGHEST risk for developing prostate cancer!!
The fear of “what happens if” takes over next. What if cancer is found? Will I be able to have sex? Fear of losing one’s ability to have sex, whether due to erectile dysfunction, incontinence, or performance anxiety is a HUGE deterrent to screening. Although there may be some risks to sexual function after treatment of prostate cancer, every case and every man is different. If you are not alive, you cannot have sex either.
So men, if you are over age 50, or age 40 with a high risk of prostate cancer (black race and/or have a family history), PLEASE, talk to your doctor about prostate cancer screening this month!!! It can save your (sex) LIFE!
~One drop of knowledge can ripple through an entire community