When I turned 40, I went to the doctor for an exam. I dreaded it all day, but I knew it was necessary. I entered the examination room and sat in a chair in the corner. The nurse entered the room and started checking my vital signs.
“Your blood pressure’s a little high,” she said. “Do you have any stress in your life?”
“Yes,” I said. “Work has me a bit stressed out at the moment.”
“You need to relax and take it easy,” she said as she exited the room. “The doctor will see you in a few minutes.”
Although work was contributing to my stress, my main source of anxiety at that moment was the thought of getting my prostate exam. I tried not to think about the places the doctor’s finger would probe because I knew how important the exam was to my health.
Men of African-American descent are at a significantly higher risk of developing prostate cancer than white men. Among black men, 19 percent—nearly one in five—will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and five percent of those will die from this disease. In fact, prostate cancer is the fourth most common reason overall for death in African-American men.
Read Related: The 5 Health Tests You Must Have This Year (For Real!)
Although it is recommended that men start their prostate screenings when they turn 50, I started earlier because several men in my family have been affected by the disease. African-American men with an immediate family member who had prostate cancer have a one in three chance of developing the disease. Their risk rises to 83 percent with two immediate family members having the disease, and skyrockets to 97 percent if they have three immediate family members who developed prostate cancer. Read the full article on Mocha Dad.