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Are You at Risk for Prostate Cancer? What Men Should Know

October 2, 2020
One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Most won’t experience any symptoms before their diagnosis, which is why screening can be lifesaving. Matthew Boyer, MD, one of GBMC’s radiation oncologists, talked with Bmore Lifestyle host Terra Reeves about what men and the people who care about them need to know about prostate cancer screening and treatment.

“Because prostate cancer does not usually cause symptoms until the cancer is advanced and has spread beyond the prostate gland, it’s recommended that men get screened with the PSA blood test from age 50 to 70,” Dr. Boyer explained. “Some men may need to start screening at a younger age, in particular those with a family history of prostate cancer or breast and ovarian cancer. And because the disease is more common in Black men, it’s recommended that they start getting a PSA test at age 45.”

Dr. Boyer said that because prostate cancer is usually a slow growing cancer, many men can choose active surveillance rather than other treatments such as radiation or surgery as their first treatment. During active surveillance, your doctor will regularly check your PSA level to see if it is rising. Other treatment options include medications that suppress the male hormone androgen, which stimulates the growth of cells in the prostate.

“Choosing which treatment path to follow should be a shared decision made by the patient and doctor together,” he said. “At GBMC, we approach treatment as a team. You’ll meet with your urologist and radiation oncologist who will explain the risks and benefits of each option that’s appropriate for you to help you make an informed decision about treatment.”

He added, “My most important piece of advice is to get screened. Men often put off their healthcare, but when we diagnose prostate cancer early, it’s very curable and the chance of dying from the disease is small for most men.”
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