Prostate cancer is second only to lung cancer as a cause of
cancer-related deaths among men. It is estimated that 198,000 new cases
of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year in America. In 1998,
there were 7,063 cases diagnosed in Michigan, with 351 cases reported in
Genesee County. Prostate cancer is twice as common among African
American men as in white American men.
About the size of a walnut and located behind the base of the penis,
the prostate gland produces some of the seminal fluid. Most prostate
cancers grow very slowly. Risk factors include being over 50 years old,
eating a diet high in fat and dairy products, a family history of
prostate cancer, and being African-American.
Often there are no warning symptoms with prostate cancer. Symptoms
that may occur are:
- Difficulty urinating.
- A need to urinate more often.
- Blood in the urine.
- Burning or painful sensation when urinating.
- Pain in the pelvis, lower back, or upper thighs.
The best defense against prostate cancer is to receive annual
prostate screenings, beginning at age 50. Men who are African American
or have a family history of prostate cancer should begin annual
screenings at age 40. Screening includes a PSA blood test (prostate
specific antigen) and a digital rectal examination.
If prostate cancer is treated before it spreads, the 5-year survival
rate is about 99%. Treatment depends on the general health, age and
expected lifespan of the individual, stage and grade of the disease, and
the anticipated effects of the treatment. Treatment can include surgery,
radiation, hormone therapy or anti-cancer drugs.
For more information, contact the Genesee County Health Department at