(from The American Cancer Society)
There is no better time than September, during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, for men to talk with their health care providers about this disease so that they can make informed decisions about maintaining their prostate health. Although prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men, when detected early it also boasts some of the highest survival rates.
This year approximately 217,730 men will learn they have prostate cancer and more than 32,050 men will die from the disease. African-American men are disproportionately affected by prostate cancer, having higher rates of prostate cancer diagnosis and death than men of all other racial or ethnic groups in the United States. Almost one third of prostate cancer cases are found in men during their prime years at work.
Today, 1 man in 6 will get prostate cancer during his lifetime, but only 1 man in 34 will die of this disease. More than 2 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today. When detected during these earliest stages the 5-year survival rate is close to 100%.
Still, prostate cancer will kill an estimated 1690 men this year in New York and 940 men in New Jersey. In an effort to educate and inform the public, the American Cancer Society recognizes September as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
The key, according to the American Cancer Society, is getting men to know the facts on prostate cancer and to know what their real risks are. Learning about your personal prostate cancer risk helps you make informed decisions with your healthcare provider.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men have the opportunity to make an informed decision with their health care provider about screening for prostate cancer after receiving information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits associated with screening. Men at average risk should start talking to their doctors beginning at age 50. Men at higher risk, should talk to their doctor about prostate testing earlier, including African Americans, at age 45, and men who’ve had a first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer, at age 40. For both men at average risk and higher risk, information should be provided about what is known and what is uncertain about the benefits and limitations of early detection tests and treatments so they can make informed decisions about testing.
The American Cancer Society offers a wide variety of free programs and support services to help men facing prostate cancer get involved and find the answers they’re looking for. The organization offers a 24-hour toll-free cancer information hotline at 1-800-227-2345 that provides information and a support network 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hotline will also give you information on Man to Man, a local support group dedicated to connecting those facing prostate cancer with survivors who’ve “been there.”
If you or someone you know have questions on prostate cancer, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit us on-line at www.cancer.org.