The death rate among African American men is 54 percent, compared to 22.7 percent among white men, 18 percent among Indian/Alaska Natives and 18.7 percent among Hispanic, according to the U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. The median age for diagnosis is 68, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Medical experts are baffled by the death rate among African Americans and are trying to determine its cause. As with most diseases in the African American community, this blogger says the experts can start by looking at the availability of medical care and treatment. And the patient can start by maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine.
Overall, researchers are still trying to determine the cause of prostate cancer, which is the second leading cause of death in men after lung cancer. Early detection of prostate cancer can result in better treatment and improve a patient's chances of survival. But medical experts stand at a crossroads when it comes to the benefits of screening for the disease. Some argue that screening does not save lives, but the evidence is still out on that argument.
One clear benefit of screening, however, is early detection. On the other hand, a potential risk is a false positive test result that shows cancer when it doesn't exist. Still, most organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society (ACS), recommend that men discuss with their doctors the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening before any testing occurs.
"This discussion should include an offer for testing with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE) yearly, beginning at age 50, to men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and have at least a 10-year life expectancy,'' according to the American Cancer Society's Web site. "Following this discussion, those men who favor testing should be tested. Men should actively take part in this decision by learning about prostate cancer and the pros and cons of early detection and treatment.''
Prostate cancer does not usually produce any noticeable symptoms in its early states, according to MayoClinic.com. As a result, most cases are not detected until the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. When the symptoms do occur, however, they range from difficulty urinating (less than 5 percent of cases) to an enlarged prostate.
To help combat the disease, Dr. Geo Espinosa, N.D., director of the Integrative Urological Center at New York University, encourages men to adopt a healthy lifestyle that will promote prostate health. To that end, he recommends the following tips:
- Evaluate your risk factors. Men with immediate family members who have had prostate or breast cancer are more likely to get prostate cancer.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Eat meals rich in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, watercress and cauliflower, fish--particularly omega-3 rich salmon, antioxidant-rich berries and whole grains.
- Don't forget to drink water. Good hydration is essential to a healthy prostate.
- Consider nutritional supplements. Vitamin D, modified citrus pectin or the spice turmeric can help promote prostate health.
(Note: The numbers in parenthesis are the rates per 100,000 men in the United States)
Three Most Common Cancers in Men
- Prostate cancer (142.4) First among men of all races and Hispanic origin populations.
- Lung cancer (84.6) Second among men of all races and Hispanic origin populations.
- Colorectal cancer (58.2) Third among men of all races and Hispanic origin populations.
- Lung cancer (69.4), first among men of all races and Hispanic origin populations.
- Prostate cancer (25.4), second among white (22.7), black (54.1), American Indian/Alaska Native (18.0); and Hispanic (18.7) men
- Colorectal cancer (21.0), third among men of all races and Hispanic origin populations.
- Liver cancer, second among Asian/Pacific Islander men (14.5)
Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group