September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and it is the ideal time to highlight the quiet health crisis facing American men today. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, prostate cancer affects one in seven men, and African American men are 70 percent more likely to be afflicted.
Prostate Cancer impacts a high percentage of the male population, especially African-Americans
There is a relatively quiet health crisis in America that has flown below the national radar for decades and it disproportionately affects African-American men more than any other group. Statistics from the Prostate Cancer Foundation clearly reveal a disparity.
1. Prostate cancer strikes one-in-seven men.
2. African-American men are 70-percent more likely to be afflicted.
3. African-American men are 2.4-times more likely to die as a result of prostate cancer than men of other ethnicities.
4. Prostate cancer in African-American men is more prevalent than any other ethnicity in the nation.
Although the reason for the great disparity has not been positively identified, it is widely believed that a combination of genetics, lifestyles, nutritional habits and the quality and frequency of medical care all play a role. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and a key message for men of all ethnicities is: prostate cancer screenings help save lives. It is a simple test, routinely performed during an annual physical exam whereby a doctor assesses the prostate for enlargement or abnormalities and checks the blood in what is known as a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test. (PSA is a protein secreted only by the prostate and is easily measured in the blood of all men.)
If the level of PSA falls outside a specific range considered normal, additional testing may be required to determine if the individual has prostate cancer. The PSA test is effective in detecting cancer prior to the onset of any symptoms, and that is where such tests can be true lifesavers.
1. The best time to check for, and treat, prostate cancer is when there are no symptoms.
2. Prostate cancer is most beatable when detected early.
3. If you have symptoms that may include, but are not limited to: painful urination, blood in the urine, or persistent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs, it is absolutely essential to be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.
According to the American Cancer Society, with early detection and treatment of prostate cancer, the five year relative survival rate is almost 100%, the 10-year survival rate is 98% and the 15-year rate is 95%. For all men over 40, and African-Americans in particular, have your doctor perform an annual screening as part of your routine physical. For more info, visit www.cancercenter.com/ prostate-cancer/questions/.