Men’s Health Month: Facts and Tips from Prostate Cancer Survivors

June is Men’s Health Month, and it’s time to talk about something that often gets swept under the rug: prostate cancer. We here at The Prostate Network wanted to share with you some facts about the state of this issue in the U.S. and some tips from survivors who have walked and are walking this journey today.

The Facts

In the U.S today:

  • 1 in 9 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
  • Every 2.7 minutes a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  • Every 16 minutes a man dies of prostate cancer.
  • There are 3.1+ million prostate cancer survivors alive in the US.
  • 191,930 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020.
  • 33,330 men will die from prostate cancer in 2020.

 

In Kansas

  • Estimated new cases in 2020: 1,730
  • Estimated deaths in 2020: 290

 

Racial Disparities

  • African American men are 1.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer over white men.
  • African American men are 2.2 times more likely to die from—prostate cancer than white men. 
  • African American men are also slightly more likely than white men to be diagnosed with advanced disease.
  • Only 33% of African American men over 50 years old have had the PSA test.
  • These statistics are a result of factors happening within the U.S. healthcare system including access to care issues and racial bias. 
     

The good news about these sobering statistics? Nearly 100% of these men will be alive in 5 years if the disease is caught in the early stages.

 

What Can Men Do?

  • Know your risk: Risk factors include race, family history, aging, diet, gene changes, and more.
  • Get tested: Talk to your doctor; make a plan to get tested
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Be active, eat well, and keep a healthy weight. The impact of a cancer diagnosis will be much more challenging than having a diet and exercise plan.
  • Spread the word: Tell a friend

 

Tips From Survivors

Advice from our co-founder Caesar Blevins:

“We must start being more proactive than reactive in our quest for better health!  We must educate our African American men about prostate cancer!  This means that we first must process our health situation before we can progress!  We have to evaluate and this comes from educating our men.”
 

We asked a room of prostate cancer survivors what they would say if they had the podium and the room was full of men from all lines of work, all ages and all states of health.  Here is what they wanted every man to know…

  • Don’t wait until you are in pain and see your physician only for immediate relief.  That’s what a majority of men have been doing for years and it’s not working for us!  Be proactive and always get an annual check-up.  You don’t wait till your car is dead on the side of the road to fix issues you know about.  Treat your body better than your car.
     
  • When you do see your doctor, be prepared.  Log the types of issues you are having and write down the questions you would like answered.  Take the time to make sure everything you wrote down was covered before saying thank you and good bye.
     
  • Don’t assume you know your family history.  Ask, document and share your family history to verify its accuracy and to help your entire family with this gift.  Being proactive versus reactive can make all the difference in the world. 
     
  • Be honest for a change. We have been raised to rub some dirt on our wounds and pretend like things are fine…Men need to open up and tell those caring for them what is really going on.  Identifying a problem early allows experts to nip big issues in the bud versus waiting till they turn into big unsolvable one’s.

 

If you would like to learn more check out our web site prostatenetwork.org and podcast series Prostate Cancer: Surviving Together.
 

Find a prostate cancer support group near you.