Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime and one in 33 will die from it.
In 2011 alone, the American Cancer Society’s (ACS’s) Cancer Facts and Figures report estimates more than 238,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. About 5,000 of those men live in Maryland and 710 of them will die this year.
Want to bring it even closer to home? According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) Cigarette Restitution Fund Report, 199 Frederick County men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007, and 16 died from the disease.
Here’s the good news: prostate cancer is one of only a handful cancers we can fairly reliably detect through simple tests. That means if you’re a man – particularly a man over 65 years old – it’s time to talk to your doctor about being screened.
The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test detects the level of that specific marker in the blood. Together with a digital rectal exam (DRE), where your doctor feels the prostate gland with a gloved finger, prostate cancer is relatively easy to find—and early enough that treatment is often effective. Better yet, most health insurances pay (or help pay) for the cost of these tests.
No; it’s not anyone’s idea of a good time, but neither is prostate cancer.
Risk factors for prostate cancer include age (about 60% of all cases are diagnosed in men over age 65), race (African Americans seem to have a higher rate of prostate cancer) and family history (about 5-10% of men with prostate cancer have a family history).
If you or a man in your life is waiting for symptoms to show up – don’t. The ACS says
“early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms and is most often found by a PSA test and/or DRE.”
More advanced cases of prostate cancer can slow or weaken your urinary system or lead to more frequent urination or cause a kidney blockage, but these symptoms are more common in non-cancerous conditions (like an enlarged prostate).
The key is to catch prostate cancer as early as possible. To do that, you or the men in your life need to be tested.
If you’d like more information on prostate cancer, call the Frederick County Health Department at 301-600-3362.
For more information on treatment options for prostate cancer in our community, consider attending Frederick Memorial Hospital’s annual Prostate Cancer Symposium on September 27, 2011 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the FMH Regional Cancer Therapy Center. Speakers for this year’s event include Urologist Dr. Jared Berkowitz and Radiation Oncologist Dr. Gregory Gagnon discussing da Vinci Robotic Surgery and CyberKnife Radiosurgery in the treatment of prostate cancer.
The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Just call 240-566-4692 to register.