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September is national prostate cancer awareness month

September 8, 2013
Reinbeck Courier

DES MOINES, Iowa In Iowa in 2013, 350 men will die from prostate cancer. Nationally, the number is nearly 30,000. These numbers come from a cancer that if caught early, has a 5-year survival rate that approaches 100%.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, and in most men it grows very slowly. Problems with prostate cancer include the fact that early prostate cancer usually has no symptoms, and the only well-established risk factors for prostate cancer are increasing age, African ancestry, and a family history of the disease. About 60% of all prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in men 65 years of age and older, and 97% occur in men 50 and older.

At this time, there are insufficient data to recommend for or against routine testing for early prostate cancer detection with the PSA test. The American Cancer Society recommends that beginning at age 50, men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and have a life expectancy of at least 10 years receive information about the potential benefits and known limitations associated with testing for early prostate cancer detection and have an opportunity to make an informed decision about testing. Men at high risk of developing prostate cancer (African Americans or men with a close relative diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65) should have this discussion with their health care provider beginning at age 45. Men at even higher risk (because they have several close relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age) should have this discussion with their provider at age 40. All men should be given sufficient information about the benefits and limitations of testing and early detection to allow them to make a decision based on their personal values and preferences.

"I never miss the opportunity to talk to my doctor about prostate cancer," said Joel Greer, Past Chair of the American Cancer Society's Iowa Advisory Board. "Knowing prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men in America, and knowing that if caught early, there's nearly a 100% survival rate, I encourage all men to talk to their doctor and stay on top of their prostate health."

The majority (93%) of prostate cancers are discovered in the local or regional stages, for which the 5-year relative sur?vival rate approaches 100%. Over the past 25 years, the 5-year relative survival rate for all stages combined has increased from 68% to almost 100%. According to the most recent data, 10- and 15-year relative survival rates are 98% and 93%, respectively. Obesity and smoking are associated with an increased risk of dying from prostate cancer.

For more information about prostate cancer, please visit or call 1-800-227-2345.



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