AUSTIN, Texas - It is November and this month, a lot of guys are growing their beards out to raise awareness about men's health.
In this FOX 7 Focus, Dr. Stuart Wolf, a urologist with Dell Medical School and Seton Urology Group, joins FOX 7 Austin's John Krinjak to delve into some of those issues that men are often reluctant to talk about.
JOHN KRINJAK: So first, I want to ask you, just in general, a lot of men don't like to talk about their health or maybe even pay close attention to their health. As a doctor, specifically a urologist, how big of a problem is that?
STUART WOLF: Unfortunately, a big problem. We see disease that has advanced beyond where it really should be. If we had used normal early detection methods and unfortunately, men are not always very good about doing what they should be doing in terms of maintaining their health.
JOHN KRINJAK: Let's go through some of the common cancers that impact men. Prostate cancer, that's a big one. It's the second leading cause of death for men. What do guys need to know about it and what should they be doing? I know that's something that sort of depends on your age, right?
STUART WOLF: Absolutely. You know, there used to be a lot of controversy about prostate cancer screening, but now we've actually settled, I think, into a pretty reasonable place where we generally, if you're a typical man, we're going to want to start screening around age 55. We usually use a PSA blood test. That used to be all we had was a blood test. We now have additional tests, including imaging and other molecular testing that allow us to do a much better job of figuring out which men are likely to have prostate cancer. And then they go on to receive biopsies and maybe treatment.
JOHN KRINJAK: And testicular cancer, another really sensitive subject for a lot of men, obviously. What do men need to know about that? And I understand the guidance around it has changed over the years.
STUART WOLF: Yes, exactly. The United States Preventive Services Task Force actually does not recommend that young men and young men or the age group at risk for testicular cancer. The task force does not recommend routine testicular self-examination. That recommendation, however, is based upon the fact that there's been no really super great studies to look at this. It's obviously pretty easy to examine yourself in the shower. Go ahead and do it once a month. Feel for any lumps or bumps if you feel anything. That's when you should call your urologist.
JOHN KRINJAK: One type of cancer we don't often hear talked about is bladder cancer. Why is that something that's important for men to pay attention to, and what should they be looking for?
STUART WOLF: Yeah, this this is really important, and I'm really glad you asked that because I think this is some place where we could really help the men of central Texas. The main symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. And unfortunately, a lot of men see this and they kind of blow it off. Bladder cancer when it's detected early is quite curable. It's a big inconvenience, but it's quite curable. Bladder cancer that is advanced requires some pretty intensive treatment, including major surgery and chemotherapy.
JOHN KRINJAK: And just sort of speaking generally here, what are 2 or 3 things that men can do right now just to promote their health, to take better care of themselves?
STUART WOLF: I think there's a few things you can do. Number one, you know, talk to other men. You know, share share of the issues that you're having and certainly try to get a regular physician and try to get an annual visit or so, you know, get your screening tests, get your colonoscopies, get your PSAs, get your other lab tests, get examined by a doctor, have your blood pressure checked.
JOHN KRINJAK: All right. Doctor Stuart Wolf, urologist with Dell Medical School and Seton Urology Group. Some really important information. Doctor, thanks so much for being here.
STUART WOLF: Thank you very much.