Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for men in America. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year, and approximately 30,000 American men will die from the disease. According to Miami urologist Dr. George Suarez, approximately 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. The top four risk factors for developing prostate cancer include:
- Increasing age;
- Family history;
The average age of diagnosis is about 65, but some cases of aggressive forms of the cancer have been diagnosed in men who are as young as 30. The American Cancer Society recommends men with an average risk for prostate cancer should discuss screening with their doctors when they reach the age of 50, while men with high risk factors – such as African American men with a family history of the disease – should begin testing at age 40. Your Miami urologist has found prostate Cancer screening to be a controversial topic. Despite many studies that show some benefits of screening with a digital rectal exam (DRE), it remains unclear whether early screening reduces mortality rates in prostate cancer patients. Because the screening itself cannot decide which prostate cancers are aggressive and need treatment, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer receive treatment. Since some forms of the slow-growing cancer would have never harmed the patient, experts are worried about overtreatment. Prostate cancer treatments can result in serious side effects that outweigh the potential benefits of the screening. According to your Miami urologist, these include urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and bowel dysfunction. Cancer experts say the focus should be on identifying men who are at high risk for prostate cancer because that group would benefit the most from screening and follow-up treatment. Most experts agree that improved diagnostic techniques along with personalized risk assessments and more informed decision-making by men and their doctors are a more effective way to improve prostate cancer outcomes than to screen every man of a certain age. Join your Miami urologist this September – which is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month – in taking time to increase public awareness of prostate cancer, including personal risk levels, prevalence, approaches to screening and prevention, treatment options, and additional resources available to patients and their families. For more information regarding prostate cancer, call the office of Miami urologist Dr. George Suarez to schedule a confidential consultation.