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September is Prostate Health/Prostate Cancer Awareness month so here are some relevant statistics:
Prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in men. It is the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths (lung cancer is the first). According to American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 192,280 new cases of prostate cancer and 27,360 deaths in the United States during 2015. The likelihood that a man will be diagnosed in his lifetime is 1 in 7. It is estimated that one man for every 36 will die of prostate cancer. About 6 in 10 cases occur in men aged 65 or older.
While these numbers are alarming, there is still hope. Prostate cancer is one of the most successfully treated cancers with more than three million men in the United States claiming the title of prostate cancer survivor. These men make up 43 percent of the total US male cancer survivor population. This is due to a generally older age at presentation of cancer, earlier detection, effective treatment, and a safe clinical course for most men. According to the most recent data the relative survival rates are looking better than ever. It is estimated that by 2024, prostate cancer survivors will exceed four million in number.
An important factor in increasing survival rates is regular screening and early detection. It is recommended that men begin screening despite a lack of signs or symptoms. Risk factors help determine who should be tested and at what stage of life. Age is a major risk factor. Prostate cancer is very rare in men younger than 40, but the risk rises rapidly after age 50. So, it is highly recommended that men begin getting regular prostate exams at age 50.
There are two main screening tests prostate cancer – the Prostate-Specific Antigen (or PSA) blood test and a Digital Rectal Exam. The PSA blood test will show higher than normal levels of PSA in men with prostate cancer. Since certain medications and other health factors can affect PSA levels, the PSA blood test might not be the best option for every man. Some patients may need physical exams like the DRE test to determine the presence of prostate cancer. During this exam, a doctor can feel the prostate gland for any abnormalities. Often these two tests are performed in conjunction with each other to confirm a prostate cancer diagnosis.
Now that you know a little more about prostate cancer and the screening methods, be sure to put it to use. Men – if you’re of age, get tested! Women – encourage men in your life to do the same.
For more information on prostate or other forms of cancer, visit the American Cancer Society’s website: www.cancer.org.
By: Bryce Donald, BS, ACE-CPT, Fitness Specialist/Personal Trainer at VHWFC
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