ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (besides skin cancer). About 1 man in 7 will get prostate cancer during his lifetime. Unlike breast cancer, which is found in both women and men, prostate cancer is found in men only, because women do not have a prostate gland.
Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men found to have prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 2.9 million men in the United States who have had prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. Men should not be screened unless they have received this information. The discussion about screening should take place at:
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).
After this discussion, those men who want to be screened should be tested with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The digital rectal exam (DRE) may also be done as a part of the screening.
If, after this discussion, a man is unable to decide if testing is right for him, the screening decision can be made by the health care provider, who should take into account the patient’s general health preferences and values.
If you have questions about prostate cancer, your family history, or other concerns, make an appointment to speak with your health care provider – knowledge is power!
Visit www.cancer.org for additional information.