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Keep Lethal Enemy in Check via Early Detection

Date Posted: 2000-07-14

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer (second only to skin cancer) and the second most common cause of death from cancer among American men. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated that 180,400 new cases and 32,000 deaths from prostate cancer will occur in the United States this year.

Prostate cancer involves abnormal growth in the walnut-size prostate gland¾found only in men¾that sits between the bladder and rectum. The prostate stores sperm and produces fluid that transports sperm. Scientists are unsure why and how men develop prostate cancer. Found early, prostate cancer is 100% curable. The cure rate drops to less than 5% if the cancer spreads to distant organs.

Who gets prostate cancer and what symptoms does it produce? Although men of any age can get prostate cancer, it is found most often in men over 50. In fact, more than 8 out of 10 of the men with prostate cancer are over the age of 65. Prostate cancer is about twice as common among African-American men as it is among white American men. Early prostate cancer often produces no symptoms¾which makes periodic screening more important. When present, the most common symptoms of early prostate cancer include:

·frequent urination (especially at night)
·trouble starting or holding back urination
·pain on ejaculation

Advanced prostate cancer can produce the following symptoms:

·weak or interrupted urine flow
·pain or a burning feeling during urination
·blood in the urine or semen

Although the exact cause of prostate cancer is not known, certain risk factors¾age, race, high fat diet, and a family history of a first-degree relative with the cancer¾are linked to its development. Because the exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, primary prevention is not possible at this time. However, studies have shown that screening for prostate cancer early can reduce its spread and increase survival rate. Prostate cancer screening includes the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test and the digital rectal exam (DRE). The American Cancer society recommends that African American men should undergo annual screening beginning at age 40; others should start at 50 years old. Men should also consume a low fat diet and exercise on a regular basis.

For more information about prostate cancer, visit the Kadena or Lester Health and Wellness Center, or visit the Internet website at http://www.cancer.org.

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