Black men have highest incidence rates for prostate cancer
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer occurs when the cells of the prostate begin to grow uncontrollably and become malignant. Prostate cancer is a significant health concern in the U.S. due to its high incidence. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer death. In 2007 more than 218,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 27,000 of them will die from the disease. What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer occurs when the cells of the prostate begin to grow uncontrollably and become malignant. Prostate cancer is a significant health concern in the U.S. due to its high incidence. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer death. In 2007 more than 218,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 27,000 of them will die from the disease. When caught and treated early, prostate cancer has a cure rate of more than ninety percent.
What are the Risk Factors?
Although the causes of prostate cancer are still not completely understood, researchers have found several factors that increase a man's risk for the disease:
* Age: More than sixty-five percent of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of sixty-five.
* Race: Incidence rates are significantly higher in African American men than in white men.
* Family History: Men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than men without a family history.
* Diet: A high-fat diet increases a man's risk for advanced prostate cancer, including a high intake of red meat or high-fat dairy, as well as a limited intake of fruits and vegetables.
* Smoking: Middle-aged men who smoke face twice the risk of developing more aggressive forms of prostate cancer than men who have never smoked.
* Exercise: Less physically active men may be at a higher risk of prostate cancer.
To help identify individual risks, check out the American Urological Association's Prostate Golf, an online tool assessing a man's risk for developing prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer in African Americans
African American men have the highest incidence rates for developing prostate cancer, though the exact reasons for this link are unclear. An estimated 31,870 African American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007, accounting for thirty-seven percent of all cancers diagnosed in this population. Death rates from prostate cancer are 2.4 times higher in African Americans than in white men. Moreover, African American men tend to present with more advanced disease and have poorer overall prognosis than Caucasian or Asian men.
Reasons for the racial differences are not well understood and researchers are trying to determine why the African American community suffers more prostate cancer. Some possibilities include:
* Genetic, environmental and social influences can affect the development and progression of prostate cancer in African American men.
* Limited access to health care, including lack of insurance, may mean that African American men do not always receive the preventive care and screening they need.
* Distrust or negative attitudes toward screening tests and regular check-ups may mean that prostate cancer is diagnosed at a more advanced stage in African American men.
Common Signs and Symptoms
In its early stages, prostate cancer usually does not cause noticeable symptoms. However, some men will experience symptoms that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer, including:
* A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
* Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
* Weak or interrupted flow of urine
* Blood in urine or semen
* Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
Because these symptoms can also indicate the presence of other diseases or disorders, men who experience any of these symptoms should undergo a thorough check-up to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms.
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
While most experts agree that healthy men over the age of 50 should consider screening for prostate cancer, the age at which a man should start screening is still in debate. Those who are at a higher risk of prosta