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Pay attention to your prostate health

 J. Stephan Jones, M.D., Chairman of Cleveland Clinic's Department of Regional Urology at Beachwood Family Health & Surgery Center, notes that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Prostate cancer also is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the U.S. On average, more than 180,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year.

 
The number of cases of prostate cancer has been declining among white American men. However, African American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer predicatively have a 50 percent greater chance of having prostate cancer during their lifetime, Dr. Jones said.
The cause of prostate cancer, like many cancers, is still unknown. But there are some risk factors that men of all ages should consider:
 
Age: The greatest risk factor for prostate cancer is age. More than 75 percent of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men older than 65 years.
 
Family history: Men whose relatives have had prostate cancer are considered to be at high risk.
 
Race: African Americans have the highest incidence of prostate cancer. They are 30 to 50 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer.
 
Many believe there are early symptoms of prostate cancer, however, this idea is flawed. There are no early detecting symptoms, said Dr. Jones.
 
The most effective means of detecting prostate cancer early is through a screening, which involves a digital rectal exam and measuring the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood.
 
An initial PSA test is recommended for all men over the age of 40. If the test is normal, another exam isn't needed for 5 to 10 years, said Dr. Jones.
 

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