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Slowing a silent killer

Prostate cancer is an ugly term to American men. That’s because the disease is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men, and it’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, trailing only lung cancer.

Long labeled the silent killer, prostate cancer often develops in men without any obvious symptoms.

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, so we’re reminding local men to be aware. Our region continues to be plagued with many forms of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 9,010 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in Ohio this year. In West Virginia, that number is 1,430. Sadly, estimates show that 1,450 men in Ohio will die and 180 men in West Virginia will die of prostate cancer this year.

According to the ACS, one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. What’s encouraging, though, is that nearly 100 percent of those diagnosed are still alive in five years. The 10-year survival rate is 98 percent and the 15-year survival rate is 96 percent. That is why doctors recommend men over the age of 40 make an appointment to receive a yearly exam. Detection and treatment methods continue to improve, and those are just a few reasons that the death rate from the disease has dropped by more than half since 1993.

There is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer, but the American Cancer Society offers some common-sense advice about how to possibly reduce the risk of coming down with the disease, including eating at least two-and-a-half cups of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.

Please study the risk factors of prostate cancer. Also as important, be aware of changes in your body — you know yourself best. And if you have reason for concern or fall into the age categories, get a prostate exam. Let’s continue to slow down this silent-killer cancer.

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