It’s Time to Increase Prostate Cancer Awareness
Next month is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a time when many organizations and medical practices set out pamphlets or participate in special events. The purpose of these actions is to inform men and women about the risks of prostate cancer, as well as the ways to protect oneself against the advancement of this disease. In preparation for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we want to discuss a few details about this common form of cancer.
One in Nine Men are Diagnosed
According to the National Cancer Society, approximately 190,000 new prostate cancers will be diagnosed this year. This type of cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, resulting in a mass. Nearly all prostate cancer originates from the abnormal growth of cells that produce prostatic fluid.
It’s Primarily an Older Man’s Disease
Approximately 60% of new prostate cancer diagnoses are made in men over the age of 65. The average patient age for prostate cancer is 66 years. The rate of new diagnoses is 60% higher in black men than in white men. It is uncommon for men younger than 40 to develop this condition, though not impossible. Men need to know their risk factors and talk with their primary care physician or a urologist about them.
When we read that prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, we may become very concerned. While we must know current statistics as they relate to risks, we must also observe survival statistics. Data indicates that 90% of prostate cancers are localized to the prostate and nearby organs. They have not spread to other parts of the body. The 5-year survival rate in such cases is nearly 100%. The 10-year survival rate is 98%.
What Can You Do to Prevent Advanced Prostate Cancer?
The first step in preventing advanced prostate cancer is knowing your risks. Common risks include age, lifestyle, eating habits, and family history. Additionally, men should:
- Avoid cigarettes and secondhand smoke. Research shows that smoking decreases the survival rate for men diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- Know the signs of prostate cancer. These include difficult or frequent urination, especially nighttime urination, a burning sensation when urinating, erectile dysfunction, and blood in the urine.
- Get screened. Men should talk with their primary care physician about when they should begin routine PSA screenings to measure prostate-specific antigen in the blood.