September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. According to Us TOO, a nonprofit serving the prostate cancer community by providing educational materials and resources at no charge, nearly three million men in the U.S. are living with prostate cancer — and that number is estimated to reach four million by 2024.
The need for increased awareness about the tests that could prevent these numbers from rising is urgent.
Results from a simple prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, together with a digital rectal exam (DRE), may be enough to indicate the need for a biopsy, which is the first step toward a prostate cancer diagnosis.
“Too often a simple PSA blood test for prostate cancer isn’t part of a man’s annual physical exam,” Chuck Strand, CEO of Us TOO International, said in a press release. “An elevated PSA level doesn’t necessarily indicate prostate cancer. But think of it like a ‘check engine’ light on your car. It’s information that’s good to have for making an informed decision.”
If diagnosed at an early stage, prostate cancer can be treated. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends PSA-based screening for men who are between 55 and 69 years of age.
Men in high-risk groups, such as African-Americans, those with a family history of prostate cancer, and military veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other chemicals, should consider annual testing starting at age 40 instead of 55, however.
President Trump released a statement supporting those who battle prostate cancer and reaffirming the “nation’s commitment to making this a world free from cancer.”
In his statement, the president said there are reasons to be hopeful about finding a cure for prostate cancer as the rate of new cases in the U.S. has fallen nearly 6 percent on average every year over the past decade.
During this same period, the death rate due to prostate cancer has also fallen by more than 3 percent yearly. Men diagnosed with prostate cancer are now living longer than ever before and research efforts seem to be producing results, the president said.
Trump added, however, that prostate cancer is still the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men, and said his administration is dedicated to advancing research and treatment options.
If you wish to support and participate in events during National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Us TOO offers a series of options:
- The 13th Annual SEA Blue Chicago Prostate Cancer Walk & 5K Run, Sept. 10, Chicago;
- Marty Sammon’s Blues Fling, Sept. 10, Tinley Park, Illinois;
- 2017 PCRI Prostate Cancer Conference, Sept. 8-10, Los Angeles;
- Seventh Annual Prostate Cancer Advocacy Summit, Sept. 16, Detroit, Michigan;
- Sons and Daughters of the Blues Jam, Sept. 18, Chicago;
- 13th Annual African-American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit, Sept. 21-22, Washington, D.C.;
- Community Conversation on Prostate Cancer, Sept. 23, Wilmington, North Carolina;
- First Annual Rudy’s 1 Mile Run & Walk for Prostate Cancer, Sept. 23, Moline, Illinois;
- Quad Cities Marathon, Sept. 24, Moline, Illinois.