5 Important Things You Probably Didn't Know About Prostate Cancer

Categories: Prostate Cancer

September 29, 2017

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men according to the Center for Disease Control. Here are five things you should be aware of so that you or your loved one can be aware of any additional risk factors they may have.

1. Prostate Cancer Can Be Inherited

If your father or brother(s) have had prostate cancer, research shows that you are at a higher risk for developing it too. The more immediate family members with prostate cancer the higher your own risk becomes.

This may be related to an inherited gene. Research studies at Memorial Sloan Kettering suggest that men with mutations in the gene BRCA2, a gene also related to genetic breast cancer development, have an increased risk for prostate cancer development. You can discuss genetic testing with your oncologist or learn more about it here.

Understanding the role gene mutations play in prostate cancer can improve the treatment options available for those patients.

2. Treatment is Not Always the First Course of Action

Watchful waiting can be used for older patients rather than heading straight into surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy or any other prostate cancer treatment.

If there are no symptoms of prostate cancer, but the screening test showed signs of its presence, watchful waiting may be a valid option. Once symptoms appear or change, a course of treatment can be recommended by the oncologist. The patient will be monitored regularly to see if there are changes in the test results that indicate the cancer has grown.

3. Most Men Survive a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Even though prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in American men, it also has one of the best survival rates. There are many prostate cancer treatment options that can be used alone or in combination to treat patients once it’s determined that a treatment is necessary. The National Cancer Institute reports that the five-year survival rate (the chance that you will live for five years after diagnosis) for prostate cancer is nearly 99 percent.

4. It's More Common in African-American Men

Prostate cancer affects African-American men and Caribbean men of African descent more often than white men. African-American men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than white men. Incidentally, Asian-American and Latino men are even less likely to get prostate cancer than white men. The difference in racial rates of developing prostate cancer is still not clear.

5. Young Men Can Get Prostate Cancer

One of the most surprising facts about prostate cancer is that young men can also get the disease. One study reports that about 10% of prostate cancer cases today are for men aged 55 or below. Although it is uncommon for younger men to get prostate cancer, these cases tend to have the most aggressive forms of the disease. If anyone in your immediate family has developed prostate cancer you may want to talk to your doctor about starting prostate cancer screening sooner than the typical age 50.

Although prostate cancer is common we're fortunate to have developed a regular screening process that can help catch it early, allowing men to live long and active lives after diagnosis. Be sure to schedule your regular screening exam for yourself or your loved one with a general practitioner every year.