Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. One in nine American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
While prostate cancer affects all races and socioeconomic classes, African American men are at an increased risk of developing the disease. African American men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with – and 2.2 times more likely to die from – prostate cancer.
“Raising awareness and providing education about prostate cancer can save lives,” Ira Baxter, executive director of the Prostate Cancer Coalition of Tennessee, said. “The earlier it can be diagnosed, the better the opportunity for effective treatment, decreased risk of side effects post-treatment, and cancer-free life.”
In 2018, there were nearly 165,000 new cases of prostate cancer nationwide, with 2,750 of those in Tennessee. Prostate cancer claimed nearly 30,000 lives across the country and 600 across the state last year.
“We appreciate Gov. Bill Lee for proclaiming September as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month,” Baxter continued. “It is important that we talk about this disease and change the stereotype of this disease. We need to learn all we can, increase funding for prostate cancer research, get involved with community activities to raise awareness about the disease, and do all we can to support men and their families dealing with it.”
Men must talk to their physicians regarding their potential risks to developing prostate cancer as well as when screening and related tests for early detection are needed. African American men should be screened earlier, and all men should know their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) number.
For individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer, shared decision making between the patient, his family, other caregivers, and his physician is important to support the right care, and patients should talk to their doctor to learn more about the disease, treatment options and to find support groups and services in their communities or online, such as the Prostate Cancer Coalition of Tennessee (PCCTN).
The Coalition desires to become the information and support hub for anyone touched by prostate cancer within the State of Tennessee. Ultimately, PCCTN envisions a world free of prostate cancer. To learn more, visit www.pcctn.org.