Is it possible that being a single male could prove to be hazardous to your health? Research suggests that this may indeed be the case if you are a single male at risk of prostate cancer. A long term men’s health study was recently conducted on over 2,400 U.S. men. Results of the study were used to gain insight into the factors that motivate men to proactively seek prostate screenings. It initially appeared that a prior family history of prostate cancer was the dominant factor in motivating men to be screened. Men with a family history of prostate cancer were found to be 40% more likely to get screened than those without such history. However, upon closer scrutiny, researchers discovered that family history is only a primary motivator for men who are currently married or co-habitating.
What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Researchers must do subsequent research to determine what additional factors have a direct bearing on motivating men to get prostate screenings. However, the initial evidence clearly shows that involvement in a committed relationship, be it marriage or co-habitation, has a positive impact in this regard. Conventional wisdom is that the concerned significant other exerts influence to persuade or encourage the at risk male to receive regular prostate screenings. An analysis of higher risk men, who live alone, showed that they are less likely to be screened than those at lower risk who live with a wife or partner. Recognizing the significance of this finding has caused researchers to consider directly targeting spouses and partners, in addition to the at risk men themselves, in hopes of increasing the percentage of men regularly getting screened.
Other Risk Factors
While interesting to consider, singleness, is far from being the most important risk factor for assessing the likelihood of contracting prostate cancer. Studies show that African American men are 61% more likely than their Caucasian counterparts to develop prostate cancer. Men with a first degree relative (i.e. father, brother, son) with the disease are twice as likely to contract it. In addition to race and genetics, social and environmental factors such as diet and nutrition can play a contributing role as well.
Early Detection is Key
Prostate cancer affects roughly 1 in 6 men. Instances of contracting this cancer are nominal in men under 40. However, the rate increases exponentially for men who fall in the 40-59 age bracket. Prostate cancer, like any cancer, is most curable when detected in the early stages. The recommendation of the American Cancer Society is that men with a family history of prostate cancer be initially screened for the disease once they turn 45, and annually thereafter.