PHILADELPHIA (September 1, 2020) – September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness month. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), prostate cancer is the most common cancer (aside from skin cancer) in American men. For 2020, the ACS is estimating approximately 191,130 new cases and nearly 33,330 deaths from prostate cancer.
In his lifetime, about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. The odds of being diagnosed with the disease increases with age—66 is the average age of diagnosis. African American men have an increased chance of developing high-risk cancers. Although prostate cancer can be a serious disease, most men do not die from it.
“Prostate cancer that is detected early, typically while it is still within the prostate gland, has a better chance of being successfully treated,” said Alexander Kutikov, MD, FACS, chief of the Division of Urologic Oncology at Fox Chase. “Some types of prostate cancer are aggressive. However, most cancers are quite slow-growing, and a significant portion can be monitored without aggressive treatment.”
In early phases, prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. According to the ACS, most prostate cancers are detected early through screening. More advanced prostate cancer may cause symptoms, including:
- Trouble urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain or burning during urination
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Bone pain
- Trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction)
“Many of these symptoms can be caused by something other than prostate cancer. However, you should let your healthcare provider know if you show any signs so the cause may be determined and treated, if needed,” said Kutikov.
A number of factors can affect a man’s risk for prostate cancer. However, it is important to note that if a man has one or more risk factors, it does not mean he will develop the disease.
- Age: While prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, the chance of having prostate cancer rises quickly after age 50. About 6 out of every 10 prostate cancers are found in men over age 65.
- Race/ethnicity: For reasons unknown, prostate cancer develops more often in African American men and in Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races. Prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced in these men.
- Family history of prostate cancer. The disease seems to run in some families, suggesting an inherited or genetic factor in some cases. However, most prostate cancers occur in men without a family history of the disease. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing the disease. The risk is much higher for men with several affected relatives, particularly if their relatives were young when the cancer was found.
Screening for Prostate Cancer
The American Urological Association recommends men ages 55–69 consider screening. “Much debate has centered around screening for prostate cancer. Given the risks and benefits of screening, not every man should be screened for prostate cancer,” said Kutikov. “Men should talk to their healthcare provider about their risk factors, options, and preferences. Together, they can make a decision.”
Fox Chase Cancer Center offers a Risk Assessment Program for individuals and families concerned about their risk for certain types of cancer. To learn more, visit FoxChase.org/rap.
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostate-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20353087