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For Release: September 18, 2008
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Early Detection of Prostate Cancer Saves Lives

 One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.  Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men and the second leading cause of death in men in the United States.  The American Cancer Society (ACS) has estimated that 2,530 Oklahoma men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 290 will die in 2008.  Because of this, the Oklahoma State Department of Health encourages men to seek early prostate cancer detection during September, which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Screenings for prostate cancer include a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test.  The ACS suggests both tests be performed yearly for most men age 50 and older.  However, some men who are at a higher risk for prostate cancer may be advised to begin screening at the age of 40 or 45, while others even choose to have a “baseline” test earlier than age 40.  According to data last collected in 2006, 55 percent of men in Oklahoma ages 45-74 had received a PSA in the previous two years.

There are several risk factors that increase a man’s chance of developing prostate cancer, age being the most common.  In Oklahoma, approximately 78 percent of prostate cancer cases reported to the Oklahoma Cancer Registry from 1997 to 2005 occurred in men ages 50-74.  Other risk factors may include family history such as fathers and brothers who have had prostate cancer, as well as race and diet.  

African American men have a 60 percent higher chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer than white men, with Native American and Asian men having the lowest rates of prostate cancer.  Men who consume a diet high in saturated fat may increase their risk for prostate cancer.

 To decrease the negative impacts of prostate cancer, state health officials suggest men seek early detection.  In addition, men should increase their intake of foods high in fiber, vegetables and fruits and include physical activity in their routine to help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.  

All men should visit with their doctor or healthcare provider to understand the risks for prostate cancer, what screenings they advise, and at what age to begin those screenings. 

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