Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer for men, after lung cancer, both in the United States and worldwide. In 2022, nearly 270,000 US men will be told they have prostate cancer – that is one new case every 2 minutes. Globally, the number increases to one new case every 31 seconds.
Early detection is key to living prostate cancer free and September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month, raising awareness about the disease and encouraging men to know their risk and talk to their doctor.
“Prostate cancer is one of three common urologic cancers affecting men, and the most common”, states John Kowalczyk, DO, a urologist practicing at Wickenburg Community Hospital, “the others are Bladder and Kidney cancers.”
It is important for men to understand their risk of developing prostate cancer and to talk to their doctor about whether prostate cancer screening is right for them. Empowering men with screening results and educational tools helps them make informed decisions about prostate cancer screening, care and treatment.
“Screening includes a blood test, a urine test and a physical exam,” explains Dr. Kowalczyk, “We do a PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test, a urine test and a rectal exam. If anything is abnormal, we also conduct a prostate biopsy.”
Aside from age, risk factors for prostate cancer include family history and race. About one out of every nine men in the US will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime; however, the odds increase to:
- 1 in 6 if they are African American
- 1 in 5 if they have a family history
The American Urologic Association (AUA) recommends men ages 55 to 69, talk to their health care provider about whether prostate cancer testing is right for them. For men at a ‘higher risk’ for developing the disease, such as African-American men or men with a family history, consider talking to your health care provider as early as 40-54 years of age about the benefits and risks of testing.
There are multiple treatments for prostate cancer ranging from “active surveillance” to radiation or surgery. Your doctor can help you decide what is right for you.
For additional information, check out the Urology Care Foundation’s Prostate Cancer Info Center online, the American Cancer Society website or have a discussion with a urologist.
What You Should Know About Prostate Cancer:
- This year, nearly 270,000 US men will be told they have prostate cancer and more than 1.28 million men worldwide will be diagnosed with the disease. It is one of the most common cancers in men, both in the US and globally.
- All men are at risk of developing prostate cancer, but the risk increases significantly as men grow older.
- If you are age 55 to 69, Talk to Your Doctor about prostate screening.
- There are currently more than 3 million men in the US living with prostate cancer.
- Know Your Risk. Some men are at higher risk for prostate cancer. Talk to your Doctor about prostate cancer screening if you are age 40 to 54 years and are African-American, have a father, brother or son who has had prostate cancer.
The choice to be screened for prostate cancer is a personal one. Before you decide to be tested, you may want to talk to your doctor about your risk for prostate cancer, including your personal and family history. Then you can talk about the benefits and risks of testing.
“Greater than 85% of men can survive prostate cancer if their disease is identified early,” Dr. Kowalczyk shares, “‘Early’ means before you feel any symptoms. Once symptoms occur, it may be too late.”