This year, an estimated 164,690 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 29,000 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Who is most at risk?
- The ACS statistics also show the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50 and that more than half of prostate cancer cases are found in men older than 65.
- Those with the highest risk of developing the deadly disease are African-American men, who are more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as Caucasian men.
- The major risk factors for developing prostate cancer include having a father or brother with prostate cancer and/or an unhealthy diet. In fact, studies indicate that men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher chance of developing prostate cancer.
Early detection is key to survival
According to Nicholas Cahoj, MD, at Manhattan’s Via Christi Primary Care Clinic, the key to surviving prostate cancer is early detection. Prostate cancer can often be found early by testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in a man’s blood. Another way to find prostate cancer early is the digital rectal exam. Using these screening tools means that the disease likely will be detected an earlier, more treatable stage than if no screening were done.
Experts at Via Christi say even if screening detects prostate cancer, some prostate cancers grow so slowly they never cause problems. Some men may be diagnosed with a prostate cancer as a result of elevated PSA levels would have never even known they had the disease and it would not have led to death, or even caused any symptoms.This is why the American Cancer Society recommends that men thinking about getting screened talk with doctor and review available information on prostate cancer screenings.
If you would like to speak to an expert about prostate cancer screenings, please contact your primary care provider. If you need a primary care provider, find a local doctor here: