"Novembeard" and "Movember" give men a chance to grow out their beard and moustache for a good cause.

More whiskers, more awareness for Prostate Cancer

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You might be noticing more men than ever wearing whiskers. While beards have had style a style resurgence, this grow out during the month of November is charity related. Many guys are laying down their razors for “Grow & Give to End Prostate Cancer.”

“Novembeard” is when men around the country grow out their beards to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer research. With “Movember” – they grow out their moustaches.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One in 8 men get the disease, while 2,900,000 are believed to already have the disease. That’s why doctors are glad when there’s ever anything that shed light on this disease that has an almost 100% survival rate, if caught early.

“The medical issues that we deal with often aren’t part of normal conversation,” says Dr. Pratik Desai, explaining some of the challenges.

Dr. Desai is a board-certified urologist and fellow of the American College of Surgeons with Potomac Urology. As a member of the Sentara Cancer Network, Dr. Desai specializes in urological cancer care, he says the issues they treat are wide spread.

“It’s stuff that men don’t either feel comfortable talking about, or don’t have the forum in which they can discuss certain things: urination, sexual function, genital pain,” says Dr. Desai.

Dr. Desai says talking to your doctor is key and men shouldn’t hope a problem will just go away, “The stuff they should come see us with are any sort of discomfort or pain, any incontinence, any issue with their urination that will affect their quality of life, whether they can’t sleep at night or they can’t sit through a meeting or a movie. Anything of these things should be investigated.”

To that end, new guidelines are offering men another way to battle this disease.

For years, there’s been debate surrounding a screening for prostate cancer called, “PSA,” or “Prostate-Specific Antigen.” Some doctors argued the test does more harm than good, putting men through aggressive treatment when it’s not necessary. One side of the argument says the test can’t tell the difference between slow growing, harmless prostate cancer and less common, aggressive, potentially deadly tumors.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force issued a draft recommendation. The revision indicates the test has benefits, something Dr. Desai echoes. He says while every case is unique, men 55 to 69 years of age should discuss with their doctor if PSA is right for them and their situation. “This revision recognizes the importance in screening and the fact, that it does - in a selected population, provides significant health benefits.”

Dr. Desai says if men should run into any problem they don’t have to travel to D.C. or Maryland for quality care; it’s already right here in Prince William County.

“When you look at number of total prostate patients treated in Prince William County, there’s not going to be anyone close to what our practice does,” says Dr. Desai proudly. “We’re the largest deliverer of this sort of care in the area.”

Potomac Urology at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is the premiere source for state of the art diagnosis, treatment and management of all urologic and urogynological conditions from simple to complex. To learn more and find a provider call 1-800-SENTARA.