One in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. If you’re not aware about the lifestyle factors that put you at risk, why continue to put yourself at such a disadvantage? From proper diet to the diagnostic tests available, consult these facts and figures and know where you stand.
1. Know your risk for prostate cancer
Increasing age is one risk factor, but so are family history, and ethnicity. In fact, African-American men are 1.65 times more likely to be diagnosed and 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease.
2. Prostate cancer is not just an old man’s disease
The reality is just the opposite: 1 in 325 men under the age of 49 will be diagnosed with the disease.
3. Your prostate is small, but mighty
Prostate cancer begins in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system that is shaped like a walnut. Though it may be small and often forgotten, the prostate is pretty important: it helps regulate urine flow and produces semen.
4. A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk, so put down the steak and cigarettes
A healthy living plan is important when it comes to prostate health and if diagnosed, fighting prostate cancer. This includes regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy, plant-based diet with limited animal products. A heart-healthy diet is a prostate-healthy diet. If you smoke or use tobacco, stop—and if you don’t, don’t start.
5. Early detection is vital
Early stage prostate cancer has no symptoms, so understanding your risk is critical. Catching the disease early gives men who are diagnosed the best chance of living longer—the five-year survival rate for the disease is greater than 99 percent when caught early. Talk to your doctor about your risk and making a plan to test for the disease.
6. Prostate cancer is more common than you might think
In 2016, it is estimated that there will be 180,890 new prostate cancer cases—as much as lung and colorectal cancer combined. Here are a few more stats to keep in mind: prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men and is the most commonly diagnosed. Currently, there are nearly 2.9 million American men who have been diagnosed with the disease.
7. Prostate cancer testing is considered controversial, but it is necessary
It is important to talk to your doctor to make an informed decision about when to begin testing for prostate cancer. Testing is simple and includes a blood test—the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test—and a DRE (gigital rectal exam), where the doctor feels the prostate with his finger.
8. There is a war on prostate cancer
The Department of Defense plays an active role in fighting prostate cancer by funding innovative research. An annual summit connects advocates with elected officials to educate them about the importance of research funding.
9. Together, we’re making strides
Each year, clinical trials present new treatment options for men battling prostate cancer. In fact, advances in treatment have reduced the death rate from prostate cancer. Most recently, genomic testing has risen to the forefront as a method of determining whether a man’s cancer is aggressive or slow growing, allowing for a more personalized approach to treatment and management of his disease.
10. You can join the fight
There are many ways to get involved in the fight against prostate cancer. Spread awareness locally by participating in community events, participate in fundraisers in your area and have a frank, open discussion with loved ones about the disease. Together, we can end it.
Jamie Bearse, President and CEO, ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, [email protected]