Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men in the United States with an average of about 13 out of every 100 American men expected to get prostate cancer during their lifetime. It’s also one of the deadliest forms of cancer, too.
Fortunately, like any form of cancer, the prognosis is usually more positive when it’s found at an earlier stage. That’s why it’s so important to know the warning signs and be ready to see your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Common symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- Difficulty starting urination
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Difficulty emptying the bladder completely
- Pain or burning during urination
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away
- Painful ejaculation
These symptoms aren’t always caused by prostate cancer, so your doctor may recommend a variety of tests or screenings to make a more accurate diagnosis.
It’s important to note that current screenings and tests for prostate cancer are known to sometimes lead to inaccurate or misleading results. Additionally, the benefits of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) — a test that measures your blood for a substance made by your prostate — aren’t entirely clear. As a result, this has led the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to recommend that men between the ages of 55 and 69 talk with their doctor and then make an individual decision about whether or not they should take this test.
Age-Related Risk Factors
The most significant risk factor for prostate cancer is age. Prostate cancer is rare among men younger than 40, but the risk for prostate cancer rises rapidly after the age of 50. And, according to the American Cancer Society, around 60 percent of all prostate cancer cases are found in men older than 65.
Nearly 13 percent of the Charles County population is at least 65 years old based on the latest U.S. Census data, so there could be as many as 10,000 men who are at high risk for prostate cancer in our community.
Prostate Cancer Among African-American Men
In addition to age, family history and race also play an important role in a person’s risk. This is especially true for African-American men, who are most likely to get prostate cancer than other men.
African-American men are so much more prone to this form of cancer that they’re twice as likely to die from it than other men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is because African-American men:
- Tend to get prostate cancer at a younger age
- Are more likely to have a more advanced form of cancer when it’s found
- Are more likely to have a more severe type of prostate cancer
This is important for people in Charles County to understand because Black or African-American people make up over half of the total population — meaning our community is at greater risk than many for this form of cancer.
Ultimately, whether you’re an African-American man, are part of a high-risk age range, or have prostate cancer in your family history, it’s even more important to stay connected with your primary care doctor to keep them in the loop with any potential symptoms or warning signs.
To learn more about prostate cancer, its risk factors, treatment options, and more, visit the American Cancer Society website or talk to your doctor today.