Monday, 19 October 2015

The Risk of Prostate Cancer in Black Men

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Nigerian men but screening is not a common practice. The true burden of the disease in Nigeria is not known.
All men should be concerned about prostate cancer, particularly as they age. Talk with your doctor about if and when you should be screened based on your family history and other risk factors. If you have one or more risk factors and are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, early screening is especially important.
Black men are at a significantly higher risk of developing prostate cancer than white men. Among black men, 19 percent — nearly one in five — will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and five percent of those will die from this disease. In fact, prostate cancer is the fourth most common reason overall for death in black men.

Prostate Cancer in Black Men: How Much Greater Is the Risk? 
Researchers aren't exactly sure of the reasons why black men are at an increased risk of developing and dying from prostate cancer. Research is under way in an attempt to better understand the causes, but one recent study suggests that there may be a genetic link.
And while black men are already at an increased risk for prostate cancer, their risk increases dramatically if there is a family history of prostate cancer. Black men with an immediate family member who had prostate cancer have a one in three chance of developing the disease. Their risk rises to 83 percent with two immediate family members having the disease, and skyrockets to 97 percent if they have three immediate family members who developed prostate cancer.

The Importance of Early Screening
Early prostate cancer screening is important because by the time that symptoms appear, the cancer is likely in an advanced stage. The earlier the prostate cancer is caught — before symptoms appear — the better the chances for recovery.

Prostate cancer is highly treatable when caught early.  Almost 100 percent of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer in its earliest stage will be alive five years later.

Prostate Cancer Screening for Black Men
Regular screening is important for all men at the age when prostate cancer becomes more likely. But for black men, routine prostate cancer screening should start at an even younger age. The American Cancer Society recommends that Black men discuss testing with their doctor at age 45, or at age 40 if they have several close relatives who have had prostate cancer before age 65.
Screening tests can include a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and/or a digital rectal exam (DRE). Both tests can be usually be done by your family doctor. A digital rectal exam is a quick and only mildly uncomfortable exam of your prostate. Your doctor will use a lubricated, gloved finger to gently feel the surface of your prostate gland for lumps or other abnormalities.

In addition to recognizing the need for early screening, you should be aware of the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer. These symptoms can include urinating in the middle of the night, needing to urinate more frequently, and feeling like the bladder doesn't completely empty. Blood in the urine may also be a sign of prostate cancer.
It is important for men to talk to their doctor about diagnostic testing for prostate cancer if they are experiencing any of these symptoms. They also need to have a discussion with their doctor about the benefits and limitations of screening for early prostate cancer detection. Not ignoring symptoms and being aware that finding the disease and treating it early has very good outcomes are two things to keep in mind.

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