Earlier this year I, like thousands of others around the country did a run for Breast Cancer. Â Tomorrow I will be joining others for a run to raise money and awareness for Pancreatic Cancer. Â People all over the country last year dumped ice water on their heads to help raise awareness and money for ALS. Â Yet, surprisingly there is (so far) very little in the way of a major campaign or event for Prostate Cancer.
It is a topic, much like depression and mental illness that we covered yesterday, that is rarely talked about, and even when it is, the topic makes many uneasy (mention a prostate exam to a man and watch him squirm at the thought of it). Â It is not all that much different than Breast Cancer was… before all the campaigns to help bring the killer out into the open. Â The need to bring Prostate Cancer out of the shadows, and to start a dialog on this topic is long overdue.
This year, an estimated 220,800 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Â Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States. It is estimated that 27,540 deaths from this disease will occur this year. Â This is a trend that can easily be turned around. Â Overall, most men who develop prostate cancer are expected to live at least five years after diagnosis. Ninety-eight percent (98%) are alive after 10 years, and 94% live for at least 15 years. Â The reason this is significant, and why preventative action is so important, is becauseÂ for men diagnosed with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, the five-year survival rate drops to 28%.
Fortunately, it is easier to screen today than it was even 20 years ago. Â There is now a test called the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigens) test, which measures the level of PSA in a manâ€™s blood. Â (PSA isÂ Â a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland). Â And only if the PSA levels are up will moving on to the next form of testing, the Prostate Exam. Â As an added little bonus, some organizations that take blood will run a PSA Test for you, for free.
It is time to stop hiding because of the perceived stigma… or fear…. or ridicule… or any other reason used to rationalize it. Â It is your life and your body. Â Take care of it, it is the only one you will get. Â Are you getting screened?