Did you know that aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men in the U.S.?
In fact, in 2017, there will likely be over 161,000 new cases and over 26,000 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
So what should you know about your risk, potential symptoms and when to get screened?
“The most common risk factors are things you can’t control,” says Dr. Mark Brandt, the Division Director of Urology at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “Those that have a higher risk generally have a family history, are African American and are older, as your risk increases with age.”
Still, even if you are at higher risk for developing prostate cancer, there are tests that can help, says Dr. Brandt.
“Some tests that are commonly done at your urologist’s office are a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, a rectal exam, a PHI (Prostate Health Index), a 4KScore or a prostate MRI. Dependent on the results of these tests, your doctor may order a biopsy,” he explains.
“Prostate cancer can only be cured in the early stages before symptoms develop, which is one of the reasons this type of cancer is so frightening,” he explains. “This is also why these tests are so important. When caught early, prostate cancer is curable.”
So when should a man see a doctor?
The American Cancer Society recommends prostate cancer screening be offered to men starting at age 50 and earlier for those with risk factors, such as first-degree relatives with prostate cancer or men who are African American.
While in the early stages, prostate cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms. If left undetected, advanced cases can lead to difficulty voiding or blood in the urine. Although both of these complaints are usually related to other conditions, a visit to the urologist is the best first step to determine the right course of action and if further testing is necessary.
Find out your estimated risk of developing prostate cancer with our Prostate Health Assessment.