PHILADELPHIA (September 1, 2016) – September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month—a time for men to take charge of their health by learning the risk factors for prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. While prostate cancer can be a serious disease, most men diagnosed with it do not die from it. Today, there are over 2.9 million men living in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point. In 2016, the ACS estimates about 180,890 new cases will be diagnosed, and approximately 26,120 men will die from the disease.
Some symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- Difficulty starting urination
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Difficulty emptying the bladder completely
- Pain or burning during urination
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Painful ejaculation
- Pain in the back, hips or pelvis that does not go away
“Prostate cancer symptoms vary from man to man. Some may experience a variety of symptoms while others show none,” said Fox Chase Cancer Center radiation oncologist Mark L. Sobczak, MD. “While symptoms may be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer, it is important for men to consult with their physician if they experience any signs so the cause may be found and treated.”
Risk Factors and Screening for Prostate Cancer
“All men need to understand their individual risk for prostate cancer and discuss screening options with their physician. Screening can help find the disease at an early stage, when it’s likely to be easier to treat,” said Dr. Sobczak.
While the causes of prostate cancer are not fully understood, several known risk factors may affect a man’s chance of developing the disease. However, just having a risk factor does not mean a man will get prostate cancer.
- Age: While there is still some risk for men under age 50, the chance of having prostate cancer rises quickly over age 50. Nearly six out of every 10 prostate cancers are found in men over age 65.
- Race: Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races and ethnicities. African-American men are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age and at a more advanced stage. They are also more than twice as likely to die of the disease as white men. Prostate cancer occurs less often in Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites.
- Family History: “Prostate cancer appears to run in some families, suggesting a possible inherited or genetic factor,” said Dr. Sobczak. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk for the disease. The risk is even higher for men with several affected relatives, particularly if those relatives were younger at the time of the diagnosis.
Fox Chase Cancer Center Risk Assessment Program
Fox Chase Cancer Center’s Risk Assessment Program offers a full range of services for men who are concerned about their risk for prostate cancer. Through the program, doctors, nurses, and genetic counselors provide education, risk assessment, screening, and a personalized plan to reduce one’s risk. Patients at Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner hospitals have access to these services. To learn more about the Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase, visit FoxChase.org or call 888-369-2427.
For more information on prostate cancer screening and treatment, visit FoxChase.org.