Health Watch -- Father's Day

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Give the men in your family a gift that will really make a difference this Father's Day.

How many ties does a father really need? When you're thinking about Father's Day this year, instead of buying a necktie, think about family ties. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say Father's Day is a good time to talk about prostate cancer with your father and other family members because there is such a strong genetic link to the disease.

If a man's father or brother has had prostate cancer, he is much more likely to develop it, as well, according to urologists at UT Southwestern. That's why it's important to talk to your family about their medical history and what they're doing to protect themselves against the disease.

Prostate cancer is treatable with surgery or radiation if it's caught in the earliest stages. Because of this, early diagnosis is extremely important. Men with a family history of prostate cancer should begin getting regular screening exams at the age of 40. Screenings include a physical exam and a blood test for prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, a blood marker for prostate cancer.

It's not an easy or comfortable conversation to have with your dad, but this Father's Day, as you're on the golf course or standing around the backyard grill, make a point of asking your dad about his health history. Make sure he's getting the right screening exams so you can enjoy many more Father's Days together.


June 2004