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10 things you should know
  1. Incidence of Prostate Cancer: According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in 2015. 27,540 men died from the disease. To put this in perspective, the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is equivalent to 90% of the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer; 246,660.
  2. Mortality Rate: Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 36 will die of prostate cancer. An estimated 27,540 men died from prostate cancer in 2015.
  3. Risk Factors: Although scientists are uncertain about the exact cause of prostate cancer, some of the following risk factors have been linked to the disease:
    Age: Chances of having prostate cancer increase significantly after age 50. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 661.
    Family History: The chances of getting prostate cancer are 1 in 3 if you have just one close relative (father, brother) with the disease. The risk is five-fold with two close relatives. With three, it’s almost certainty (97%) that you’ll get prostate cancer2.
    Race: African American men are at special risk for the disease with the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world. In fact, the incidence rate in African Americans is 60% higher than in white males and nearly two and a half times the mortality rate2.
  4. Survival Rates: 100% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer while it is still in the early stages are still alive five years from diagnosis. Of men diagnosed in the late stages of the disease, only 33.4% survive five years3.
  5. Obesity: Research shows that obesity is a significant predictor of prostate cancer severity and death. Men with a body mass index over 32.5 have about one-third greater risk of dying from prostate cancer. High Cholesterol in obese men may also be an indicator of increased occurrence of prostate cancer2.
  6. Symptoms: Prostate cancer may not cause signs or symptoms in its early stages. Prostate cancer that is more advanced may cause signs and symptoms such as5:
    • Trouble urinating
    • Decreased force in the stream of urine
    • Blood in the urine
    • Blood in the semen
    • General pain in the lower back, hips or thighs
    • Discomfort in the pelvic area
    • Bone pain
    • Erectile dysfunction
    What About BPH?: BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), commonly known as an enlarged prostate, can also cause these symptoms. The incidence of BPH is at least 50 percent for all men at the age of 506.
  7. Screening: Screening for prostate cancer takes less than 10 minutes and is covered by health insurance in many states. Two tests are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer:
    • Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): A doctor or nurse inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to estimate the size of the prostate and feel for lumps or other abnormalities.
    • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test: Measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.
    • Men who have a PSA less than 2.5 ng/ml may only need to be retested every 2 years.
    • Screening should be done yearly for men whose PSA level is 2.5 ng/ml or higher.
  8. Effectiveness of Screening: Before early detection through PSA screening, only 1 in 4 prostate cancer cases were found in the early stages. With the widespread use of screening, about 9 out of 10 cases are now found early – giving men a fighting chance2.
  9. Prostate Cancer in Younger Men: Prostate cancer in younger men is more aggressive, and therefore more life-threatening, than in older men. Younger men don’t routinely undergo prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal exams (DRE) until the recommended age of about 50 years old. This common cancer in men usually has no physical symptoms in its earlier stages. As a result, if aggressive prostate cancer is eventually diagnosed in men younger than 55, it has often already progressed to a later-stage cancer and is therefore more difficult to treat4.
  10. Treatment Options: Selecting the right treatment for prostate cancer depends on many factors. They include your overall health, your age, the size and spread of the cancer, the aggressiveness of your cancer, and how you feel about the potential side effects of treatment. Treatment options include:
    • Surgery (prostatectomy)
    • Radiation therapy (either external beam radiation or radioactive seed implants, called brachytherapy)
    • Chemotherapy
    • Hormone therapy
    • Freezing therapy (cryosurgery)
    • Heating therapy (high-intensity focused ultrasound)
    • Active surveillance (watchful waiting)
    Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of each option before making a decision5.

1 2014 estimates by the American Cancer Society
2 National Prostate Cancer Coalition
3 Not including those who died from causes other than prostate cancer
4 5 things all young men should know about prostate cancer – By Dr. Troy Sukkarieh – October 14, 2014
5 According to the Mayo Clinic
6 According to ehealthMD
7 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention