Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

This year, more men are forecast to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than women are predicted to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Men have a higher death rate from prostate cancer than women from breast cancer. In the average American family, the husband has a greater risk of developing prostate cancer than the wife has of developing breast cancer.

Prostate cancer in men is the most diagnosed, second only to non-fatal skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, behind only lung cancer. The American Cancer Society’s estimates in the USA for 2014: about 233,000 new cases, resulting in an estimated 29,480 deaths. One man in 7 will get prostate cancer during his lifetime.

More than 2.8 million men are living in the USA today with a history of prostate cancer. Early detection of prostate cancer during a routine medical exam is key to successful treatment. Prostate cancer usually has no symptoms in its early stages and there is no self-test for this disease. The 5 year survival rate is 100% if malignant prostate cancer is detected in its early state, but the rate drops to 28% if not detected early and spreads to other parts of the body.

As early detection is a key to the successful treatment, every man should have an annual medical exam that includes the test for prostate cancer. Your annual exam should include both a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer your primary care doctor will refer you to a specialist. The specialist may be in one of several fields: urology, radiology, medical oncology, and sometimes doctors in more than one field collaborate.

Detection early allows for much broader treatment options and time for you decide which is best for you. Treatment will vary depending on a man’s age, stage and grade of his cancer as well as his other existing medical conditions.There are many sources for information about prostate cancer: The American Cancer Society, second opinions from other doctors, web research (sources such as the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health).

Support groups are an excellent source of information. The local Prostate Cancer Support group meets at the Sutter Amador Hospital in the Oakview Conference Room on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 P.M. Contact Tamara Harding at 223-7478 or Jerry Trottier at 223-9133 for more information.

Jerry Trottier

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