Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men only preceded by skin cancer. In the U.S. alone, 14 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, adding up to almost 200,000 new cases yearly. September is recognized as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness about this prevalent disease—and those affected by it.
Although prostate cancer is often treatable, it is key that the disease is caught early, which means men needs to be screened for the disease regularly. While early detection can be a significant and an easy step to increase the success of treatment, many men do not routinely visit a doctor. A 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report showed that one-third of men do not visit a medical provider annually. That is 33 percent of the male population who receive no medical evaluations over the course of a year, let alone a cancer screening. Without routine medical exams, many men become their own worst enemy when it comes to limiting the impact of the disease because they miss out on vital opportunities for early diagnosis.
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (PCAM) got its official start in 1999; however, prior to this month of recognition, the United States observed Prostate Cancer Awareness Week. No matter the name or the length of time, the ultimate goal of these awareness programs is to raise understanding of this disease and encourage men to seek medical care to diagnose—and ultimately treat—prostate cancer in its early stages. Age, family history, and race all play key roles in a man’s likelihood of developing prostate cancer and should be taken into consideration.
Men who are 40 years or older should begin to consider consulting with a doctor about prostate cancer, depending on their family history. Providing these details to the general public will hopefully increase the number of high-risk men who participate in regular screenings and check-ups with their physicians.
Learn about events and campaigns going on around the country to highlight the disease by visiting here and consider getting involved in raising awareness.