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Men's Top 5 Health Concerns

Men die at higher rates than women for all of the top 10 causes of death. Why don't men take better care of their health?

Prostate Cancer continued...

There is not enough known about what causes prostate cancer and how to prevent it. Yet the disease is treatable if found in early stages. This can be a challenge, since prostate cancer can show no symptoms until it has spread to other parts of the body.

This is where a connection to the doctor helps, says Bonhomme. "I personally know people who are alive today because they got (prostate cancer) screening."

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam be offered annually for healthy men starting at age 50 or older. Men who are at high risk -- such as those who have family history of prostate cancer or who are black -- should begin testing earlier.

According to the ACS, other risk factors include:

  • Increasing age
  • Nationality. The cancer is most common in North America and Northwestern Europe.
  • High-fat diet. Men who eat a lot of red meat and high-fat dairy products and not enough fruits and vegetables may have a higher risk.

Although older age is a risk factor for prostate cancer, younger men should not be complacent. Thirty percent of prostate cancers occur in men under age 65. "The younger a man is, the more aggressive the tumor is," says Stephen F. Sener, MD, ACS president.

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Reviewed on April 30, 2007

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