10 Things Every Woman (Yes, Woman!) Should Know About Prostate Cancer
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Getting the men in your life to take proactive measures to ensure good prostate health can be a challenge, particularly if a doctor’s visit is involved, but it is so important. Because all men have prostates, all men are at risk of developing prostate problems.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that forms part of the male reproductive system. For such a small gland, it can trigger a great deal of concern in men and for the women who care about them.
In recognition of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, here are 10 important things you should know about prostate cancer, compiled by ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer.
1. One in every six men will get prostate cancer sometime in his life. Over 186,320 new cases are expected this year—more than breast cancer.
2. The chances of getting prostate cancer are one in three if a man has just one close relative (father, brother) with the disease. The risk is 83% with two close relatives. With three, it’s almost a certainty (97%).
3. African American men are at special risk for the disease, with the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world: one in four men. African American men are 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease.
4. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of male cancer-related death in the United States.
5. There are no noticeable symptoms of prostate cancer while it is still in the early stages, which is why screening is so critical.
6. Every man age 50 or over should resolve to be screened annually. African American men or those with a family history of the disease should start annual screening at 40.
7. Before early detection through PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening, only one in four prostate cancer cases were found while still in the early stages. With the widespread use of screening, about nine out of 10 cases are now found early—giving men a fighting chance.
8. Nearly 100% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer while it is still in the early stages are still alive five years from diagnosis. Of men diagnosed in the late stages of the disease, 33.4% survive five years.
9. Screening for prostate cancer involves a simple blood test and a physical exam. It takes about 10 minutes and is covered by health insurance in many states.
10. Obesity is a significant predictor of prostate cancer severity. Men with a body mass index over 32.5 have about a third greater risk of dying from prostate cancer. Research shows high cholesterol levels are strongly associated with advanced prostate cancer.
Awareness is just the first step to better prostate health. The second is action. Encourage husbands, brothers, sons, grandfathers, and uncles to take positive action by getting annual physicals and having regular prostate cancer screenings.