Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

This month, the American Cancer Society reminds men of the importance of prostate cancer awareness.

Beginning at age 50, men should have the opportunity to make an informed decision with their health care provider about screening for prostate cancer after receiving information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits associated with screening. African-American men, or men with a family history of prostate cancer, should receive this information at age 45.

Excluding skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer death in men. Knowing the facts about prostate cancer and early detection is important, particularly this month, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

An estimated 240,890 cases of prostate cancer will occur in the U.S. during 2011. The disease accounts for about 29% of newly diagnosed cancers each year in U.S. men. In Nebraska alone, an estimated 1,290 men will hear the words, “you have prostate cancer” and an estimated 280 will die from the disease.

For reasons that remain unclear, incidence rates are significantly higher in African-Americans than in whites. Age is the most important risk factor for prostate cancer and prostate cancer incidence rates increase in men until about age 70 and decline thereafter. The American Cancer Society currently funds 89 research grants relating to prostate cancer. These multi-year grants are for $47 million. Ten of these grants are in the High Plains Division (seven in Texas and two in Missouri), totaling $6.9 million.

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