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Be aware of prostate cancer

Mikey Hoeven, Bismarck

As a member of the bipartisan Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, I want to share the following information as we observe National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in the U.S. About 174,650 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed in 2019 and more than 30,000 are expected to die of the disease. In North Dakota alone, about 360 will be diagnosed and an estimated 70 will die of prostate cancer.

Your risk for prostate cancer increases as you age. Prostate cancer is more common in African American men, who are also more than twice as likely as white men to die of the disease. Most cases occur in men who don’t have a family history of prostate cancer, but if your father or brother was diagnosed, it more than doubles your risk.

Talk with your health care professional about the benefits and risks of screening. You should start this discussion at age 50 if you’re at average risk and expect to live at least 10 more years; at age 45 if you’re high risk, including if you’re African American or have a father, brother or son diagnosed before age 65; or at age 40 if you have more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age.

Screening can detect prostate cancer early, but neither the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test nor the digital rectal exam (DRE) is 100% effective. Testing may produce false positives or miss cancer cases. Though early diagnosis and treatment saves lives, some prostate cancers develop so slowly, the side effects of treatment could be worse than the cancer symptoms; your doctor can help you decide if treatment is right for you.

Lifestyle changes can lower your risk of prostate cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables will help reduce your risk. To learn more, visit www.preventcancer.org/prostatecancer.

Mikey Hoeven is the spouse of North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven.

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