Help prevent the ‘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 Tri-State Area men to be aware.

The Ohio Valley continues to be plagued with many forms of cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016 (the last year statistics are available), 7,316 cases of prostate cancer were reported in Ohio, 8,853 cases were reported in Pennsylvania and 1,213 cases were reported in West Virginia.

The American Cancer Society says one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and adds that approximately 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year, and 31,620 men will die as a result of the disease.

Ohio Valley men should know that nearly 100 percent of those diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive in five years.

That is why doctors recommend men over the age of 40 make an appointment to receive a yearly exam. Men who are at high risk, especially African-Americans or those who have family members with prostate cancer, should begin testing earlier.

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 in the period between 1993 and 2016.

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 you fall into the age categories, get a prostate exam. Let’s continue to slow down this “silent killer” cancer.