Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men after lung cancer. It is estimated to be found in as many as half of all men over the age of 70 and in almost all men over the age of ninety. Since the discovery of the blood test for Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in the 1980’s, prostate cancer can now be detected at a much earlier stage.
In 1999, there were over 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer with 45,000 deaths. The average age of diagnosis is 72 years and 95% of cases are diagnosed between the ages of 45-89.
The incidence of prostate cancer varies among different ethnicities. The incidence is highest in African Americans and lowest in Asian Americans. Mortality from prostate cancer has slowly risen over the last 10 years which is likely attributable to the fact that the American population is aging and experiencing less cardiovascular mortality.
A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.
Because the exact cause of prostate cancer is still unknown, it is also unknown how to prevent prostate cancer.
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