The status of our health can change in small and subtle ways over time. That’s why it’s important to be proactive when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle and monitoring our physical health. This is especially true as we age and the risk of developing certain medical conditions increases. Prostate cancer is one such health concern that men should keep in mind as the years go on. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in America, a time to spread awareness about this disease and how it can affect men who are diagnosed with it. That’s why the healthcare providers here at Family Practice Center thought now would be an appropriate time to share some important information about prostate cancer and emphasize the importance of regular screening appointments.

We wanted to begin by providing some basic statistics about the prevalence of prostate cancer to help reinforce how seriously adult men should take this concern. According to the American Cancer Society, about 175,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, a slight increase from 2018. Additionally, they estimate that over 31,000 men will die from prostate cancer in 2019. Because prostate cancer is rare in men under the age of 40, the vast majority of cases will be diagnosed after men turn 65. The average age that a man is diagnosed is 66, however, that doesn’t mean that men in their 40’s and 50’s should ignore their potential risk.

The survival rate for men with prostate cancer is relatively very high compared to other forms of cancer. In fact, there are currently more than 2.9 million men in the US who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. The estimated 5-year relative survival rate from prostate cancer is 99%. While these figures are encouraging, it’s important to emphasize the fact that the patients whose cancer is diagnosed and treated while it is in its earlier stages have a far higher survival rate compared to those that are diagnosed when their cancer is in a later stage.

We provide prostate cancer screenings as part of annual physicals for male patients. As with any other form of cancer or serious illness, the earlier prostate cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment will be. We typically recommend men to begin receiving annual prostate exams around age 50. However, guys with a higher risk of prostate cancer or a family history should begin their annual screenings at age 40 just to be on the safe side. During the screening, we will begin by testing the patient’s blood for elevated levels of prostate specific antigens (PSA), a protein produced by the prostate. High PSA levels are one of the warning signs of prostate cancer. We can also perform a rectal exam to detect any bumps or irregularities on the prostate.

Understanding the risk and prevalence of prostate cancer is critical for men fighting against this disease. For men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s important to keep a positive attitude and remember that prostate cancer can be effectively treated in many cases. For more information on prostate cancer or to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers, please contact Family Practice Center. You can also follow along with us on Facebook and Twitter for additional tips, news, practice updates, and more.