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Men must stay on guard against prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is an ugly term to American men. That’s because the disease is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men, and it’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, trailing only lung cancer.

Long labeled the silent killer, prostate cancer often develops in men without any obvious symptoms.

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, so we’re reminding area men to be aware.

Our region continues to be plagued with many forms of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 9,530 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in Ohio this year. In Pennsylvania, the number is 11,740 . Sadly, estimates show that 1,470 men in Pennsylvania will die of prostate cancer this year, while 1,370 men in Ohio will die.

According to the ACS, 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. The organization adds that approximately 268,490 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year, and 34,500 men will die as a result of the disease.

What’s encouraging, though, is that nearly 100 percent of those diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive in five years. The 10-year survival rate is 98 percent and the 15-year survival rate is 96 percent. That is why doctors recommend men over the age of 40 make an appointment to receive a yearly exam. Men who are at high risk, especially African-Americans or those who have family members with prostate cancer, should begin testing earlier.

A diagnosis is rare in men under 40, while 60 percent of cases will be diagnosed in men 65 and older. The average age of diagnosis, according to the ACS, is 66.

In fact, more than 3.1 million men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

Detection and treatment methods continue to improve, and those are just a few reasons that the death rate from the disease has dropped by more than half in the period between 1993 and 2016.

There is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer, but the American Cancer Society offers some common-sense advice about how to possibly reduce the risk of coming down with the disease, including eating at least two-and-a-half cups of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.

Please study the risk factors of prostate cancer. Also as important, be aware of changes in your body — you know yourself best. And if you have reason for concern or you fall into the age categories, get a prostate exam.

Let’s continue to slow down this silent-killer cancer.

editorial@vindy.com

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