Prostate Cancer Facts
What do i need to know?
by Jamal Ross
As we begin our series on prostate cancer, I would like to share some interesting facts about this disease. Prostate cancer in the second most common cancer in men worldwide and the single most common cancer in men in the United States. (1) More specifically, there are over 3 million men who are living with prostate cancer in the United States. Worldwide over 1000 men are expected to die from prostate cancer every day. (2) In the United States, about nearly 100 men are expected to die form prostate cancer each day. In the United States men have a 12-13% lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer. (3) Prostate cancer presents a unique risk to men with no easy answers on how to find this disease at an early stage.
The prostate is a gland that is only present in men and serves to produce fluid that helps transport sperms. The prostate sits below the bladder. When the prostate grows too large, one may find it difficult to urinate. A large prostate can be due to cancer or as BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). BPH Is common in older men and shares some of the same symptoms as prostate cancer, which can make prostate cancer difficult to discover based on symptoms alone. More importantly, like many cancers, it is our goal to find prostate cancer at an early stage when there are no symptoms. The most common way to find this disease at an early stage is with a blood test called Prostate Specific Antigen, or PSA for short.
The age at which to get this blood test depends on your risk. Age, ethnicity and a family history of prostate cancer are the strongest risk factors for this disease. In the United States, over 90% of new cases of prostate cancer are found in men ages 55 and older. Because of this, the United States Preventative Services Task Force and the American Urological Association recommend that a doctor should discuss the PSA blood test with their patient who are of the ages of 55 – 75. African American men at the highest risk ethnic group and are more than twice as likely to due from prostate cancer when compared to other ethnic groups. (3) Interestingly, the breast cancer or BRCA gene can be found in men. Those with aggressive forms of prostate cancer are also screened for the breast cancer gene. Therefore, the family history of prostate cancer is not only important for men, but women also.
During our prostate cancer series, we cover several topics that will help us understand and fight this disease at an early treatable stage. In particular, we will discuss the risk factors and symptoms of prostate cancer. We will also the challenges in finding this disease at an early stage with a blood test or a physical test, where a doctor would attempt to feel your prostate with their finger. We will discuss the right time and circumstance to consider a biopsy of your prostate as well what a doctor my be searching for on a biopsy. Finally, for those who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, we will find out when it is best just to watch the disease or treat it aggressively. At the end of this series, I would to pray for you. Understanding the best screening and treatment options can be challenging, but we can get this this together.
Colon Cancer Series
1. World Health Organization. Global Cancer Observatory. Available at: https://gco.iarc.fr (Accessed on September 18, 2021)
2. Siegel RL, Miller KD, Fuchs HE, Jemal A. Cancer Statistics, 2021. CA Cancer J Clin. 2021 Jan;71(1):7-33. Erratum in: CA Cancer J Clin. 2021 Jul;71(4):359.
3. National Institute of Health. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. Cancer Stat Facts: Prostate Cancer Available at: https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/prost.html (Accessed on September 18, 2021)