This year, more than 217,730 American men will learn they have prostate cancer, and more than 32,000 of them will die from the disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, one out of six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, which is the second most common type of cancer among men in this country – behind only lung cancer.
“If you are a male, age 40 or over, then you should be screened for prostate cancer every year,” said JoAnn Silvers, BSN, certified cancer nurse navigator with the Gordon Hospital Cancer Resource Center. “Due to earlier detection measures and increased awareness, the death rate for prostate cancer is going down. But it must be caught early.”
In observance of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Gordon Hospital will be offering free prostate cancer screenings on Tuesday, Sept. 14, and Thursday, Sept. 16 from 5-6:30 p.m. While the screenings are free, registration is required. Please call 706-602-7800, ext. 2305 to reserve a time. The screening, which is recommended for all men over 40 who have not been screened in the past year, will consist of a free PSA lab draw and a digital rectal exam.
“This is not something that most people like to talk about,” Silvers said. “But it is much easier to talk about it now rather than later when it is possibly too late.”
Like most types of cancers, prostate cancer also has some risk factors, including: Age – This is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. The chance of getting prostate cancer goes up quickly after a man reaches age 50.
Race – For unknown reasons, prostate cancer is more common among African-American men than among men of other races.
Nationality – Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, and a few other places. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central and South America. The reasons for this are not clear
Family history – Prostate cancer seems to run in some families. Men with close family members (father or brother) who have had prostate cancer are more likely to get it themselves, especially if their relatives were young when they got the disease
Genes – Scientists have found several inherited genes that seem to raise prostate cancer risk, but they probably account for only a small number of cases overall
Diet – The exact role of diet in prostate cancer is not clear, but several different factors have been studied. Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products seem to have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer.
Obesity – Some studies have found that obese men may be at greater risk for having more advanced prostate cancer and of dying from prostate cancer.
“If you are unsure about whether you should be tested, then you should ask your doctor,” Silvers added.