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September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and there’s no better time to be aware of prostate cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men. One in six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
The PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test can help detect prostate cancer in its early stages. Though it does not show whether or not you have prostate cancer, it shows abnormalities that would prompt further testing, where cancer may be identified.
The survival rate when prostate cancer is detected early is nearly 100 percent, and the PSA test can help with early detection. The American Urological Association recommends that men receive a PSA test starting at age 40.
Some men assume that only older men get prostate cancer, but this is false. It is extremely un-common for men under 40 to get prostate cancer, but for ages 40-59, the risk jumps to 1 in 38 men.
Some also assume that no symptoms mean no cancer. However, prostate cancer is often symptom-free, which is why it is important to get tested.
Though all men have some risk of getting prostate cancer, the following things can increase your risk:
Age: Though men over 40 all have risk, the older you get, the greater your risk.
Race: African-Americans are the most likely to develop this cancer, while Asian men have the lowest risk.
Family History: If your father or brother has prostate cancer, you are twice as likely to develop it.
In addition to getting tested, research suggests that exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower your risk. Talk to your doctor today about getting tested for prostate cancer, and other ways you can take charge of your health.