POPULATIONS AT RISK:
In the United States, prostate cancer ranks as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men.
About 220,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. About 27,000 of the men diagnosed will die of this disease. Most prostate cancers grow slowly and don't cause symptoms unless cancer cells spread through the body. Many older men will develop "silent" prostate cancer that produces few if any symptoms and does not affect life expectancy.
Most prostate cancers are not aggressive and grow very slowly. These slow growing cancers can be watched rather than immediately treated with surgery or radiation. If they do start to grow at a faster than expected rate, treatment is usually successful. The challenge today is to find the less common but more aggressive prostate cancers at an early stage.
- African American men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world. In the United States, an African American man has a 60% higher risk of developing prostate cancer compared with white male of comparable age.
- African-American men are more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer, compared with white men.
Asian And American Indian
- Asian and American Indian men develop prostate cancer much less frequently than either white or African-American men.
- Hispanic men are about 15 percent less likely than non-Hispanic white American men to develop prostate cancer.
In addition to having higher rates of prostate cancer, African-American men more often have an aggressive form of prostate cancer that can spread quickly. Also they may be less likely to seek or receive treatment. As a result, they are more likely to die of this disease.
Researchers are looking for genetic clues to diagnose the aggressive form of prostate cancer at an earlier stage and decrease the number of prostate cancer deaths.
Talk to your doctor about getting tested. Experts disagree about whether all men should be screened routinely for prostate cancer. Nonetheless, regular screening greatly increases the chances that prostate cancer will be detected at an early stage.
The American Cancer Society recommends that all men be offered routine screening for prostate cancer starting at age 50 and that African-American men consider screening at age 45. Screening for prostate cancer usually involves a doctor's exam of the prostate and a blood test known as the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test.
If you do not have a doctor or cannot afford to see one, call your local health department or visit your local community health center. Many neighborhood clinics will see you regardless of your ability to pay. In addition, staff members usually come from the community and are likely to be sensitive to your cultural beliefs and needs (for example, language barriers).
Lead a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating an abundant amount of fruits and vegetables, and getting regular exercise may lower your risk of prostate cancer, as well as other types of cancer.
Educate yourself and your family. Learn more about prostate cancer and the pros and cons of PSA testing.
Get additional help. Many government and private organizations, including the following, have excellent outreach programs.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
31 Center Dr., MSC 2580
Bethesda, MD 20892-2580
Phone: (301) 435-3848
Toll-Free: (800) 422-6237
American Cancer Society (ACS)
1599 Clifton Rd., NE
Atlanta, GA 30329-4251
Toll-Free: (800) 227-2345