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Prostate Cancer Affects One in Seven Men Nationwide:Men older than 50 should be screened for prostate cancer - Archived


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Prostate Cancer Affects One in Seven Men Nationwide
Men older than 50 should be screened for prostate cancer

Louisville, Ky. (June 7, 2016) – KentuckyOne Health is encouraging men to be screened for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer found in men, after only skin cancer. It affects about one in seven men nationwide, with more than 180,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. Prostate cancer usually affects older men ages 65 and up and is rarely diagnosed before age 40. Men older than 50 should be screened to help prevent, or detect and treat this cancer.
“Prostate cancer is a common malignancy in men, and screening is the best method to diagnose aggressive cancers early and initiate treatment when necessary,” said Jamie C. Messer, MD, urologic oncologist at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, a partnership of KentuckyOne Health and University of Louisville. “Though prostate cancer is often not life threatening, requiring only surveillance, some men with prostate cancer have an aggressive disease which should be treated earlier.”
The prostate is a gland that makes up part of the male reproductive system. It is located below the bladder and is about the size of a walnut in healthy, young males. As men age, the prostate can grow, change and develop problems.
Prostate cancer occurs when the prostate gland begins to grow irregularly, with cancer cells. In its early stages, prostate cancer may have no symptoms, and can only be detected by a blood test or physical exam. As the disease develops, the prostate will grow larger, which can cause a weaker flow of urine or difficulty emptying the bladder. In extreme cases, blood in the urine and frequent urinary tract infections (UTI’s) can occur. Prostate cancer is often confused with benign prostate conditions that are characterized by similar symptoms.
In general, men should be screened by age 50, although this could vary depending on age, ethnicity, family history and other factors. African-American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer should be screened sooner, typically by age 40 or 45. Primary care physicians should recommend prostate cancer screening during routine check-ups, and will refer patients to a urologist for screening.
There are multiple tests that are used to screen for prostate cancer. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is used to screen for warning signs of prostate cancer. High levels of PSA in the blood could be a sign of prostate cancer. A digital rectal exam can also screen for signs of prostate cancer. During this exam, a physician will feel inside the anus for lumps in the prostate. If a PSA blood test or digital rectal exam shows signs of prostate cancer, a urologist will conduct further testing, such as a prostate ultrasound and/or needle biopsy, to determine if prostate cancer is present.
After prostate cancer is diagnosed, treatment options may vary, depending on how aggressive the prostate cancer is. Initially, physicians might recommend “active surveillance.” This is where the cancer is monitored closely for a period of time to determine if it is spreading. This is often recommended for men who may not need treatment for prostate cancer, or for older men who have other serious health problems. Active surveillance can go on for a long period of time before intervention is necessary – even nine or 10 years.
Men with a life expectancy of 10 years or more may need to receive treatment. Common treatments include surgery to remove the prostate gland, or radiation to kill cancer cells. However, treatment for prostate cancer has many associated risks, such as sexual impotency and urinary incontinence, so treatment is avoided if possible.
It is important for aging men to visit their doctor regularly and discuss any concerns or symptoms that they may be experiencing. Men older than 50 should ask their primary care physician about scheduling a prostate cancer screening today.
About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health was formed when two major Kentucky health care organizations came together in early 2012. KentuckyOne Health combines the Jewish and Catholic heritages of the two former systems – Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System. In late 2012, the organization formed a partnership with the University of Louisville Hospital | James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The nonprofit system is committed to improving the health of Kentuckians by integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients receive care. KentuckyOne Health has more than 200 locations including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is the largest health system in Kentucky.

Publish date: 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016