National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is observed every September in the United States by health experts and advocates, and individuals concerned with men’s prostate health.  Designating a month for the disease serves the purpose of increasing public awareness of the importance of prostate health and screenings, educating about risk factors and symptoms, and advocating for further research on prostate health issues.

 

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men.  About one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.  According to the American Cancer Society, there will be about 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed (almost 4,000 in South Carolina) and about 27,540 deaths from prostate cancer in the United States during the year 2015. 

 

There are several risk factors associated with prostate cancer, including family history, race, and diet, but the most common factor is age. Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men.  About six in ten cases are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40.  The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.

 

While there are a lot of risk factors for prostate cancer, there are also good survival statistics associated with the disease.  Survival rates for prostate cancer are very high.  More than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today. 

 

At MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, South Carolina's only NCI Designated Cancer Center, our newest external beam treatment option is the TrueBeam™ STx system for prostate cancers.  TrueBeam is a non-invasive prostate cancer treatment technology in which high-dose radiation is delivered to the tumor from a linear accelerator rotating around the body.  Hundreds of angles and beam width adjustments in the TrueBeam prescribed treatment plan enable the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate.  This results in treatment aimed directly to the prostate gland, avoiding nearby critical anatomy.  This precision reduces treatment time to just five outpatient visits.  In comparison, conventional radiation therapy could require up to 45 visits.

 

In addition to our newest radiation treatment option, patients are cared for by some of the region’s most knowledgeable and dedicated cancer specialists.  MUSC Hollings Cancer Center uses a team approach in which our medical experts collaborate to develop a customized treatment plan for your specific case.  Team members may include a surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, medical physicist, nurse, radiation therapist and other experts at our center.

 

To learn more about prostate cancer, please visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation at www.pcf.org.  To find out more about how MUSC Hollings Cancer Center treats prostate cancer, please click here.