Rising Numbers of Advanced Prostate Cancer
The most common type of male-specific cancer, prostate cancer affects about one in seven U.S. men. When detected early, most prostate cancers are treatable; however, troubling new statistics point toward rising advanced prostate cancer rates, with many poor outcomes related to limited treatment options.
Soaring Cancer Rates
According to a new study, advanced prostate cancer rates in the U.S. have jumped 72 percent over the past ten years. Appearing in the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, the research showed the greatest increase among men aged 55 to 69, which saw an astounding 92 percent jump during that same time frame. This is especially troublesome, since men of this age tend to benefit most from early treatment and screenings.
Why the Increase?
Although experts have clearly shown that prostate cancer rates are on the rise, they don't yet know the reason why. Some suggest the disease may be growing more aggressive, while others blame fewer screenings. In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that men not be screened for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) due to a number of false positives. According to some experts, this has probably led to fewer early diagnoses in recent years.
Still, because advanced prostate cancer rates began rising before the recommendations, it appears something else may be at play. Unfortunately, this recent study was not designed to determine the actual cause, resulting in the need for further research.
What You Can Do in the Meantime
Every year, about 26,000 men die of prostate cancer; however, many of these cases were discovered late due to inadequate screenings. In its early stages, prostate cancer often shows few - if any - signs. The best way to determine if you are at risk is to visit your doctor for a screening. According to medical experts, men with an average risk should begin getting screened at age 50, while men with a high risk should start at age 40.
Over eight in ten cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. That said, if you are African-American or have a family history of the disease, you should talk to your doctor about getting screened at an earlier age.