Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society estimates in 2016 about 180,890 new cases of prostate cancer and about 26,120 deaths from prostate cancer in the United States. About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime and about 1 man in 39 will die of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.
Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.
Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. More advanced prostate cancers sometimes cause symptoms, such as problems urinating, blood in the urine or semen, erectile dysfunction, bone pain and weakness or numbness in the legs or feet.
Most of these problems are more likely to be caused by something other than prostate cancer. Still, it’s important to tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
There is no question that screening can help find many prostate cancers early, but there are still questions about whether the benefits of screening outweigh the risks for most men. There are clearly both pros and cons to the prostate cancer screening tests in use today.
For more information: American Cancer Society - Prostate Cancer
Elena Theodosiou, MD
Portsmouth Hematology and Oncology Associates