Awareness for prostate cancer is especially important since the disease has no symptoms until it’s advanced. It will claim the lives of approximately 27,000 men this year. In an effort to elevate awareness, September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer – the most common non-skin, male-specific cancer. Nearly three million men in the US are living with a prostate cancer diagnosis; and that number is estimated to reach four million by 2024 as baby boomers age.
“Too often a simple PSA blood test for prostate cancer isn’t part of a man’s annual physical exam,” notes Chuck Strand, CEO of Us TOO International, a nonprofit that provides educational resources and support services to the prostate cancer community at no charge. “An elevated PSA level doesn’t necessarily indicate prostate cancer. But think of it like a ‘check engine’ light on your car. It’s information that’s good to have for making an informed decision.”
Results from the PSA blood test along with a DRE (digital rectal exam) may indicate the need for a biopsy, which is required to diagnose prostate cancer. If diagnosed early, prostate cancer is often treatable. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force provides a “C” recommendation for PSA–based screening for prostate cancer for men who are between 55 and 69 years of age. Their recommendation does not address testing for men who are at high-risk for prostate cancer, which includes African Americans, men with a history of prostate cancer in the family, and military veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other chemicals. While 97 percent of the men diagnosed with prostate cancer are at least 50 years old, men who are at high-risk should make an informed decision about starting annual PSA testing at the age of 40.
More than 200 Us TOO prostate cancer support groups throughout the US and abroad meet every month to help men and their loved ones make informed decisions. During National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Us TOO will be hosting and participating in a series of additional events that include:
September 10, Chicago, IL: The 13th Annual SEA Blue Chicago Prostate Cancer Walk & 5K Run
September 10, Tinley Park, IL: PCa Blue Concert – Marty Sammon’s Blues Fling
September 8 – 10, Los Angeles, CA: 2017 PCRI Prostate Cancer Conference
September 16, Detroit, MI: Seventh Annual Prostate Cancer Advocacy Summit
September 18, Chicago, IL: Sons and Daughters of the Blues Jam
September 21-22, Washington, D.C.: 13th Annual African-American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit
September 23, Wilmington, NC: Community Conversation on Prostate Cancer
September 23, Moline, IL: First Annual Rudy’s 1 Mile Run & Walk for Prostate Cancer
September 24, Quad Cities, IL/IA: Quad Cities Marathon
Strand states, “In addition to a variety of September events, Us TOO has recently launched some exciting new features on our website at www.ustoo.org. A free Clinical Trial Finder tool helps patients easily and confidentially navigate available clinical trials specific to location and diagnosis. A new page on genomic testing provides some of the latest information on a new method of testing that can help personalize treatment options and decisions.”
About Us TOO International
Us TOO International is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves the prostate cancer community by providing educational materials and resources at no charge. The organization was founded by—and continues to be governed by—people directly affected by prostate cancer. Us TOO develops digital and printed educational materials and support services that include more than 200 support groups, the Us TOO website (www.ustoo.org), online communities, toll-free HelpLine (1-800-808-7866), and the monthly distribution of Hot SHEET newsletter and Prostate Cancer News You Can Use, in addition to educational/awareness events such as Community Conversations on Prostate Cancer and the annual SEA Blue Chicago Prostate Cancer Walk & Run.