Former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Sr. doesn’t want you to strike-out. There’s too often a code of silence surrounding prostate health. Griffey’s out to help break that pattern by speaking out about prostate health. His advice mirrors the unequivocal conclusion voiced at the annual Prostate Health Disparity Summit: Get your prostate health checked!
The former Most Valuable Player with Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” was a prominent presence at the 12th annual Prostate Health Education Network Conference. Every year PHEN meets in Washington, DC bringing together leading doctors and scientists on prostate health. The conference is open and free to the public.
Men think they are invincible. Griffey says, “Athletes especially think they are invincible. Too many men are just too bullheaded” to go for a prostate health check-up or talk to their doctors about changes they notice in prostate or urinary function. Griffey’s family history, plus his own experience with prostate health challenges, propels him encourage men to speak out about their prostate health. Griffey hopes to help men overcome any awkward feelings in talking about prostate health to family and buddies. It’s time to get over any modesty or insecurity you feel. Ken Griffey Sr. and his Hall of Fame son Ken Junior are on a mission to change your outlook about your prostate.
The consensus at the the PHEN conference was crystal clear – Ask your doctor to include a comprehensive prostate health evaluation as part of your annual physical. In fact, insist on it. So said every single expert at PHEN’s fact-packed conference.
Many prostate health authorities strongly disagree with a 2012 US government-appointed Preventive Services Task Force recommendation against comprehensive blood test screening for prostate health. The panel felt the screening didn’t result in changes in prostate mortality, so why bother? Other experts say the Task Force conclusion was “dead wrong.” But after that highly publicized advice, many primary doctors stopped prostate screening and don’t order the blood test. But if doctors don’t have a track record of scores to compare over the years, they simply don’t have all the tools to evaluate changes in prostate function.
The outcry from many prostate health experts to the 2012 Task Force panel advice was long and loud and hasn’t stopped. With a lack of prostate health specialists on the panel in the first place, it’s fair to question that recommendation. Now it looks like more data supports comprehensive testing.
Data shows clearly that fatalities from prostate related deaths began a substantial decline in 1992-93. Experts credit that drop to what happens when comprehensive screening reveals changes in prostate function.
Experts insist early detection saves lives.
So when should you first get tested? Experts say their advice has changed to recommend earlier testing than in years past. Poor diet and nutrition, coupled with environmental pollution, has advanced the time when men begin to experience declining prostate health. If you’re a white male, the early 40’s is not too soon to test, but make it your mid-30’s if you’re black.
Although screening is not a definitive test for prostate health, it focuses attention so that you and your doctor can decide the best way to support your prostate health – which can lead you to better health awareness and provoke spill over benefits for cardiovascular and other health outcomes. Once you become aware of changes in prostate health, it’s a chance for you to focus on lifestyle, exercise, diet and nutritional changes that can help you achieve better health altogether.
Here are the three pitches coming at you:
Don’t strike out. Live right. Eat right. Get tested. Subscribe to Crila Health to learn about free testing near you, or write to us: [email protected]