Populations At Risk: Prostate Cancer

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Harvard Medical School
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001

Populations At Risk: Prostate Cancer

Kidney Disease
Populations at Risk
Populations At Risk: Prostate Cancer
Populations At Risk: Prostate Cancer
African-American men are more likely to develop and die of prostate cancer than are men from other ethnic groups, but lifestyle and diet can diminish the suspected role that genetics play.
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Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School



Prostate Cancer
In the United States, prostate cancer ranks as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men.


What You May Face
About 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. About 29,000 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.

The Risk Factors

Your age. All men are at risk of prostate cancer as they age. A few men in their 40s and 50s will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, but almost three-quarters (75 percent) are age 65 or older.

Your race. African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than are men from any other racial or ethnic group. Researchers suspect that genetic differences may help to explain the higher rates of prostate cancer among African-American men. In addition, diet or lifestyle factors may play a role.

Furthermore, African-American men are more likely to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer, and they are more likely to die of the disease once they have been diagnosed.

Your diet. Obese men are more likely to develop an aggressive form of prostate cancer than men of normal weight.

Your family history. About 5 percent to 10 percent of prostate cancers are considered to be hereditary. Having a father or brother who has prostate cancer doubles your risk. Having more than one close family member affected by the disease increases your risk even further.

What The Statistics Say
  • 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.
The Statistics Explained
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.
How You Can Lower Your Risk
Talk to your doctor about getting tested. Experts disagree about whether all men should be screened routinely for prostate cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men discuss the pros and cons of 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. 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)
Building 31
Room 10A03
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

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prostate cancer,cancer,diet,psa
Last updated June 10, 2014

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