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9-21-10

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, but it often can be successfully treated if caught early.

Prostate cancer is expected to strike about 186,000 men in the U.S. this year, but it can be successfully treated if it is diagnosed and treatment begins early in the disease.  Dr. Alex Gorbonos, assistant professor of urology at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, explains how prostate cancer is detected.

SOUND BITE:  “ . . . the main way we find prostate cancer is based on screening.  And the screening is usually preformed by primary care physicians or urologists.  . . . What’s involved in screening is the checking of the blood test, the PSA, and performing of the digital rectal examination of the prostate.” 

Dr. Gorbonos says risk factors for prostate cancer include family history and age.  The American Cancer Society and American Urological Association recommend that all men be screened beginning at age 50.   And those individuals with high risk factors should be tested at an earlier age.   He says about half of the patients with prostate cancer have no symptoms.

SOUND BITE:   “ Some men have non-specific symptoms which could be related to other benign conditions.  For example, urinary difficulties, blood in the urine.  However, when the prostate cancer is more advanced, or spreads to other organs, it also can present as kidney failure, bone pain, difficulty with urination.” 

Prostate cancer screening programs are available in many communities. Medicare and most health insurance companies usually cover prostate cancer screening tests, so men who are 50 years old or older should ask their primary care physician about getting this important test.

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.