September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. 5 things to know to about the potentially deadly disease
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
"From a cancer standpoint, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer cause of death," says Chief of the Division of Urology at Stamford Hospital Dr. Michael Karellas.
Doctors say almost 250,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. They say nearly 34,000 of them will die from it.
Below are some things you should know about the potentially deadly disease:
1. How is it diagnosed?
As men age their risk for prostate cancer does go up. That's why it is important for men in their 50s and 60s to be tested for prostate cancer. It's a blood test called Prostate-Specific Antigen. If the PSA is high, other tests are done, click here for more information.
2. What are the symptoms and signs?
In most men it's hard to detect prostate cancer, says Dr. Karellas. There are no real symptoms, and they won't know they have it unless they get the blood test. The growing tumor does not push against anything to cause pain, so for many years the disease may be silent. Here are some symptoms and signs you should know.
3. What is the survival rate?
Early detection is key. Dr. Karellas says many patients have put off their screenings due to COVID-19, so they are finding more advanced cancer now because of delayed routine care. Here's more information on prostate cancer survival rates.
4. What causes prostate cancer?
The simple answer is that doctors and researchers really don’t know - yet. But there are some risk factors to consider, including family history, race, age and factors like smoking, being obese and consuming too much calcium. Our genes may be one of the biggest apparent underlying factors, and one that we have little control over, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
5. How is it treated?
Treatment is based on how aggressive the cancer is. And it can include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy, any or all of which might be used at different times depending on the stage of disease and the need for treatment. Here's more information on treatments.