Raising awareness for prostate cancer

Published 2:44 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2011

By KATIE MCDOWELL / Lifestyles Editor

This year, an estimated 240,890 American men are expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, while 33,720 will die of the disease.

Urology Centers of Alabama, which is located in Birmingham and operates satellite offices throughout the state, including Columbiana, is trying to raise awareness about the disease in September, which is prostate cancer awareness month.

“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer other than skin cancer in men in America,” said Dr. Bryant Poole, a urologist with UCA.

Prostate cancer affects the prostate, a small gland in the male reproductive system. The cancer affects all ethnicities, and it’s more likely to strike men with a “first-degree” family member, such as a brother or father, who has been diagnosed with the cancer.

“The older you get, the more common it is,” Poole said. “We recommend you start screening around the age of 40.”

Because the disease has few symptoms in the early stages, Poole said screening is the most common method to diagnose patients. Urology Centers of Alabama has provided 3,100 free prostate screenings across the state since 2006.

Screening is especially important in Alabama, which ranks third in the nation for prostate cancer deaths. That number is expected to be 710 in the state this year. About 3,680 men are also expected to be diagnosed.

Treatment for prostate cancer varies, but the most common treatments are radiation and surgery.

Urology Centers of Alabama will host the Great Prostate Cancer Challenge at Oak Mountain State Park on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 8 a.m. The 5k race and one-mile walk will benefit ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer and Urology Health Foundation.

Registration costs $25 prior to the event and $30 the day of the race.

Visit Greatprostatecancerchallenge.com for more information or to register.