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FOR RELEASE: September 23, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Early Detection of Prostate Cancer Saves Lives

About one out of every six Oklahoma men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer over the course of their lifetime and more than 2,000 Oklahoma men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) encourages men to take charge of their health by seeking life-saving early prostate cancer detection during September, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

All men over the age of 50 are encouraged to have their annual digital rectal exam and Prostate Specific Antigen Test (PSA). If a man has a family history of prostate cancer or is African American, he should talk to his healthcare provider about being screened earlier.

“One in every four Oklahoma men age 50 and older has never had a PSA test and one out of every six Oklahoma men age 50 and older has never had a digital rectal exam,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher. “Men over the age of 50 who have never had a PSA or digital rectal exam should call their healthcare provider today and schedule an appointment.”

The most important risk factor for prostate cancer is increasing age. The risk of prostate cancer increases dramatically between the ages of 50 and 70. Other risk factors are family history, diet, and race. African American men in Oklahoma are more likely than Caucasian men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and they are 2.7 times more likely to die from prostate cancer than Caucasian men. Diets high in animal fat and low in fruits and vegetables may also lead to an increased risk of prostate cancer.

When prostate cancer is found early, a man’s chance of survival increases greatly. “Understand your options and risk of prostate cancer by talking with your physician or healthcare provider today,” recommended Crutcher.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your healthcare provider to schedule an appointment:

  • frequent urination (especially at night)
  • inability to urinate
  • painful or burning urination
  • trouble starting or holding back urination
  • a weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • blood in the urine or semen
  • frequent pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

To decrease the risk of prostate cancer, state health officials recommend seeking early detection, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption to more than 5 a day, and eating foods that are high in fiber and low in fat.

For additional information, contact the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237), or your healthcare provider.

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