According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prostate cancer is the No. 1 cancer risk for all men, including the African American, American Indian, Hispanic and white populations. Because it is a slow growing cancer, it can often go undetected without someone displaying symptoms. Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in American men, behind lung and colorectal cancer, and about 1 man in 39 will die of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer FAQs
You don’t have to wait for prostate cancer to slowly form, here are some Frequently Asked Questions to help you make more informed health decisions.
Who is most at-risk for developing prostate cancer?
We look at three indicators:
Age: The older you are, the greater your risk of developing prostate cancer. Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer are 65+.
Family History: If you have a father, brother, or son diagnosed with prostate cancer, you are 2-3 times more likely to also develop the disease.
Race: Unfortunately, prostate cancer is more common and aggressive in African American men, and can develop at a younger age among this group as well.
Typically, we recommend that discussion and screenings about your prostate health start at 50, unless you have a family history or are considered at risk. African American men should begin having prostate health conversations at 40.
What are the common symptoms of prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer affects men in different ways. While some men may experience no symptoms, others may experience straining to pass urine, leaking urine, bloody urine, and bone pain. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, please contact your primary care provider right away.
What screenings are there for prostate cancer?
Generally, there are two tests used to screen for prostate cancer. A Digital Rectal Exam, or DRE, is when a care provider checks the rectum to estimate the size of the prostate and feels for lumps or other abnormalities. Another way to test is with a prostate specific antigen, or PSA test, which measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA levels are typically higher in men who have prostate cancer, but can also be affected by certain medical procedures, medications, an enlarged prostate, or a prostate infection. Higher levels of PSA could indicate that a closer look or further screening is needed.
How common is prostate cancer?
About 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes. Reports from the American Cancer Society project that 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2017, with an estimated 26,730 prostate cancer deaths. Of the total estimated cases, 29,530 (or 31%) of those diagnosed are African American, and 13,000 (or 22%,) are Hispanic. Estimated prostate cancer deaths from 2015-2016 are 4,450 men in the African American community and 1,800 men in the Latino community. Additional education and resources should be available to at-risk communities to help reduce these numbers.
The keys to early detection is to know your family history, pay attention to warning signs (if any) in your body, and speak to your primary care provider about recommended screenings. Please call Neighborhood Health Association at 419.255.7883 to book your appointment, and visit us at www.nhainc.org.