PHILADELPHIA (September 1, 2017) - September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month, and Fox Chase Cancer Center is raising awareness on the signs and risk factors for prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men other than skin cancer. About 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, with an average age of 66 at the time of diagnosis. While prostate cancer can be very serious, most men diagnosed with it do not die from the disease.
“Considering how often prostate cancer occurs in men, every man should familiarize himself with its signs and risk factors,” says Alexander Kutikov, MD, FACS, Chief of the Division of Urologic Oncology at Fox Chase. “Yet, not all men should be screened for prostate cancer. Ultimately, the decision to get screened needs to be weighed in terms of the advantages and disadvantages of screening. Men should familiarize themselves with the trade-offs of prostate cancer screening and discuss both their risk factors and personal preferences with a provider whom they trust.”
Symptoms of prostate cancer are non-specific and overlap with symptoms of other common and noncancerous genitourinary disorders, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia:
- 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
Risk Factors and Screening
There are several known uncontrollable risk factors that can affect a man’s chance of prostate cancer. Having a risk factor, however, does not mean a man will get the disease.
- Age. Nearly six out of every 10 prostate cancers are found in men over age 65. While prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, the chance of having prostate cancer rises quickly over age 50.
- 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. For reasons unknown, prostate cancer occurs less often in Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites.
- Family History. Prostate cancer can run in some families. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing this disease. The risk is much higher for men with several affected relatives, particularly if their relatives were young when the cancer was found.
“I encourage patients to educate themselves about the issue of screening, as it is quite complex,” said Kutikov. The American Urological Association recommends that men ages 55-69 consider screening.
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 1-888-FOX CHASE (1-888-369-2427).
For more information on prostate cancer screening and treatment, visit FoxChase.org.