Contact: Collette Duvalle, 317-373-2391

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Men are Encouraged to Talk to Healthcare Providers about Screening

INDIANAPOLIS - Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the United States and Indiana. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a time for men and their healthcare providers to discuss screening options.

According to the Indiana Cancer Facts & Figures 2012 report, approximately one in six men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and one in 36 will die from it. Screening may lead to early detection and increased effectiveness of treatment; however some risks include false-positive test results and serious side effects, such as impotence and incontinence.

"Appropriate screening for prostate cancer is a widely debated topic in the medical community," said State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D. "Given the potential risks linked to prostate cancer screening, it is vitally important for men to talk with their healthcare provider to determine if screening is right for them."

Some important findings from the Indiana Facts & Figures report include:

  • The chance of developing prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50, with two out of three new diagnoses occurring among men over age 65.
  • African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other racial or ethnic group and are more than twice as likely to die from the disease as white men.
  • Men with one first-degree relative (a father or brother) with a history of prostate cancer are two to three times more likely to develop the disease; those with more than one affected first-degree relative are three to five times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Some common signs and 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 the urine or semen.
  • Painful ejaculation.
  • Pain in the back, hips or pelvis that doesn't go away.

It's important to note that some men have no symptoms at all, and that these symptoms also occur frequently as a result of non-cancerous conditions, such as prostate enlargement or infection. No symptoms are specific to prostate cancer.

Like most cancers, individual actions and lifestyle choices can help prevent prostate cancer. In particular, men should:

  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Limit intake of red meats (especially processed meats such as hot dogs, bologna and lunch meat).
  • Avoid excessive consumption of dairy products and calcium.
  • Include recommended levels of lycopene (antioxidants that help prevent damage to DNA which are found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon) and vitamin E in their diet.
  • Meet recommended levels of physical activity.

To learn more about prostate cancer, please refer to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2012 report, a comprehensive report on the burden of cancer in Indiana, by visiting www.indianacancer.org.

Organizations interested in impacting the burden of cancer in Indiana should consider participating in the Indiana Cancer Consortium (ICC). The ICC is a statewide network of partnerships whose mission is to reduce the cancer burden in Indiana through the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive plan that address cancer across the continuum from prevention through palliation. Participation in the ICC is open to all organizations and individuals interested in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, quality of life, data collection and advocacy regarding cancer-related issues. To become a member of the ICC and find additional information about cancer prevention and control in Indiana, please visit the ICC's website at www.indianacancer.org.

To visit the Indiana State Department of Health's website, go to www.StateHealth.in.gov.

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