Prostate cancer demands attention

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photoEric Kline

Did you know prostate cancer affects one in six men?

Each year, there are more than 200,000 newly diagnosed prostate cancers in the United States.

Prostate cancer is the most common nonskin cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer death in males. This accounts for an estimated 33,000 deaths every year.

Those with a family history of prostate cancer and African-American men are at an even higher risk.

Screening for prostate cancer saves lives and can prevent the pain and suffering of advanced prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer usually grows slowly initially and, if detected before symptoms develop, can be cured with treatment.

Screening for prostate cancer involves two simple tests, a digital rectal exam and a blood test called PSA, or prostatic specific antigen.

PSA has recently been criticized in the media. The American Urological Association believes that this has been a great disservice to patients.

Since PSA has been used in screening for prostate cancer, there has been over a 40 percent reduction in death from prostate cancer.

When used appropriately, PSA has been shown to provide significant improvement in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

The decision to test for prostate cancer requires a discussion with your physician about the benefits and risks of testing.

The American Urological Association recommends that men between the ages of 40 and 70 should talk to their doctor about prostate cancer screening.

Men less than age 40 rarely develop prostate cancer, and most men over age 70 are unlikely to develop symptoms or die from undiagnosed prostate cancer.

Some men with prostate cancer can be safely monitored without treatment.

Proceeding to active treatment is a decision that a man should discuss in detail with his urologist.

For more information go to http://www.knowyourstats.org or http://www.auanet.org.