For many years, it has been known as "a man's disease." But it doesn't have to be that way. The American Cancer Society wants to enlist women in the battle against the second-deadliest cancer striking American men: prostate cancer.
Wives and daughters can be effective allies in the battle against prostate cancer. Women are often the health care decision-makers in their families, and play an important role in urging their husbands and fathers to get the important and potentially lifesaving prostate tests.
An estimated 234,460 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and 27,350 will die of the disease.
"Our goal is to increase the proportion of men age 50 and over who follow American Cancer Society guidelines," said Patricia P. Hoge, RN, Ph.D., Chief Mission Officer for the American Cancer Society South Atlantic Division. "Early detection is especially valuable in saving lives and increasing treatment options. More men need to speak with their doctors about whether they should be tested."
Yet, there is hope for men with prostate cancer. It remains one of the most survivable of all cancers. In the early 1980s, the survival rate from prostate cancer was 67 percent. According to the most recent data, relative 10-year survival is 93 percent, and 15-year survival is 77 percent. The dramatic improvements in survival, particularly at five years, are partly attributable to earlier diagnosis but also to some improvements in treatment.
The American Cancer Society emphasizes four key points on prostate cancer:
Get as much information about prostate health as you can.
Talk with your doctor to determine your personal risk.
Understand all available testing and treatment options, so you can make an informed decision.
Contact the American Cancer Society for information about all aspects of prostate cancer 24 hours a day (1-800-ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org).
The American Cancer Society has issued guidelines for prostate screening. The guidelines are flexible in order to accommodate individual medical and personal needs, and are subject to revision based on new research evidence. They are:
Men 50 and older should be offered early detection tests (PSA and DRE) annually.
Men at high risk (family history, African Americans) should begin early detection testing (PSA and DRE) at age 45.
Talk with your doctor about whether you should be tested.
The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.