What You Need to Know about Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men, but it is also among the most curable cancers. Read on to get the facts about prostate cancer, from prevalence to prevention.
October 21st, 2013 by: Jennifer Hughes
How common is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting 1 in 6 men. In 2013, more than 238,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 30,000 men will die from the disease.One new case occurs every 2.2 minutes and a man dies from prostate cancer every 17.5 minutes. There are more than 2.5 million American men currently living with prostate cancer.
What are the risk factors?
Age: Although only 1 in 10,000 under age 40 will be diagnosed, the rate shoots up to 1 in 38 for ages 40 to 59, and 1 in 14 for ages 60 to 69. About 60% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65 and 97% occur in men 50 years of age and older.
Race: African American men are 56% more likely to develop prostate cancer compared with Caucasian men and nearly 2.5 times as likely to die from the disease.
Family history: Men with a father, brother or son with a history of prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease, while those with two or more relatives are nearly four times as likely to be diagnosed.
How curable is prostate cancer?
The earlier the cancer is caught, the more likely it is for the patient to remain disease-free.
Because approximately 90% of all prostate cancers are detected in the local and regional stages, the cure rate for prostate cancer is very high — nearly 100% of men diagnosed at this stage will be disease-free after five years. By contrast, in the 1970s, only 67% of men diagnosed with local or regional prostate cancer were disease-free after five years.
Frequent, hesitant or burning urination.
Difficulty in having an erection.
Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.
In the early stages, prostate cancer has no symptoms, so screening is paramount. Screening for prostate cancer can be performed in a physician’s office using two tests:
The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test
The digital rectal exam (DRE)
Depending on the stage of disease and the need for treatment, any or all of the following treatments might be used:
"It is well known that a high-animal-fat diet is a risk factor for prostate cancer. Research done at Harvard University, which was published in the American Journal of Nutrition, established a link between patients with prostate cancer and a history of high animal fat intake. The research noted that industry raised animals are given hormones to increase their size and this then spreads into the food chain."
Raju Thomas, MD, FACS, MHA
Professor and Chairman of Urology Chief of Endourology, Laparoscopy, and Stone Disease Head of the Tulane Prostate Cancer Program
"There is no reason to fear the urologist. Since people are often asymptomatic in the early stages of a disease, the best prevention tip is to get screened. The typical office visit is mostly a history and a physical exam, including a prostate exam. Reducing your risk is having a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy, reducing obesity, reducing smoking and getting screened. Regular exercise and a low-fat diet can make a difference as well.”
Richard M. Vanlangendonck Jr., M.D.
Urologist, Touro Infirmary
"Diet and exercise is extremely important for heart disease, hypertension, and everything in general. That also applies for helping the prostate."
Sean Collins, MD
Urologist, East Jefferson General Hospital