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September Is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Op-Ed: Why Is Prostate Cancer Still the Leading Cancer in Men?

Special to the GUIDE
From the Men’s Health Network

Prostate cancer is still the leading cancer in American men. Today over 3.1 million men are living with a diagnosis.

In 2022, more than 268,000 men will find out they have it—and a projected 34,500 will die as a result. This is an aggressive growth from the 2021 levels of approximately 192,000 new diagnoses with 33,330 fatalities according to the American Cancer Society.

“We want all men to be aware of their risk level for prostate cancer, and to have an open dialogue with their healthcare provider about getting an exam. High-risk individuals should start talking to their doctor about getting screened at age 40, normal-risk men at 45.” said Ana Fadich-Tomsic, MPH, CHES, Vice President of MHN.

Men between the ages of 55 and 84 are at the highest risk for developing prostate cancer, with the most frequently diagnosed ages being 65-74. High-risk groups include non-Hispanic Black men, those with a family history of prostate cancer, and men who have been exposed to cancer causing chemicals.

Extremely concerning is the disproportionate number of Black men who are diagnosed, and have worse health outcomes.

“While prostate cancer affects men of all races and ethnicities, African American men are approximately 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed and at least twice

as likely to die from it,” said Dr. Jean Bonhomme, MD, MPH, Founder and Chairman, National Black Men’s Health Network. “Delayed diagnosis, inadequate public awareness and lack of connection to the health care system are contributing factors to this unfortunate outcome.”

Early detections of prostate cancer through screenings like the Prostate-Specific Antigen test (PSA) and digital rectal exams (DRE) have significantly increased the survival rate and early detection rate, leading to better outcomes for men and families.

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“On the bright side, there are new urine screening methods that help doctors decide whether a prostate biopsy is really needed.” commented Dr. Bonhomme. “Also, radiation therapy for prostate cancer has improved dramatically over the past ten years with much more precise targeting and fewer complications.”

MHN encourages men to discuss prostate cancer screening options with a doctor.

Health professionals are optimistic about the advancement in technology leading to better outcomes for men with prostate cancer. “Thanks to modern therapies, when caught early, prostate cancer can be successfully treated close to 95 percent of the time – with low risk of long-term side effects,” says MHN’s Senior Science Advisor Salvatore J. Giorgianni, Jr., PharmD.

Despite the achievements of modern medicine, an estimated 12.6 percent of men will have prostate cancer in their lifetime. The rate of new cases has in recent years begun rising—for the first time since 1995. Since 2014 there has been a 2.6% increase in cases, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“Prostate health continues to be a very important part of male wellness, particularly for older men,” says Giorgianni. “Men need to become knowledgeable about the signs of prostate problems,particularly prostate cancer, and then do the most important thing and ‘man-up’ by contacting a health care provider to ‘Get It Checked.’ If you don’t have a provider, ask family and friends to recommend one.”

A common misconception is that prostate cancer only affects men very late in life. On the contrary, award-winning urologist Dr. Paul Turek distinguishes a concerning trend for younger men; “worldwide, the incidence of prostate cancer has steadily increased in men ages 15 to 40 years at about 2% per year for the last 30 years.” It is an increase that is concerning for the future of men who typically are outside of the high-risk age group for prostate cancer.

Men’s Health Network is committed to maintaining a nationwide strategy to increase prostate cancer awareness during September and throughout the year. Organizational partnerships and media engagement are key in making sure men of all ages know the importance of getting their prostate checked, and encouraging loved ones to do so.

For more on Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, visit

– where you’ll find free downloadable fact sheets, brochures, posters, links to national advocacy organizations, as well as a link to President Biden’s message on prostate cancer, and a social media toolkit.

To learn more about prostate cancer and prostate health, visit the Prostate Health Guide at, You and Prostate Cancer at and the Men’s Health Resource Center at

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