Diagnosing Prostate Cancer: Significant advancements being made

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, behind skin cancer
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 1:31 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Although September was Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, doctors say it’s important that men be aware of the potential of prostate cancer year-round.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, behind skin cancer.

It is also the second leading cancer cause of death in men behind lung cancer.

It’s important that men of a certain age be checked for prostate cancer.

It’s estimated that more than 34,000 men will die from prostate cancer this year.

That number is actually down from prior years, and it may be attributed in part to the way doctors look at prostate cancer treatment.

It’s something that might be characterized by the phrase “less is more.”

“If we were saying the single most important advancement in prostate cancer treatment over the last 10 years has actually been increased restraint shown by urologists, radiation oncologists, and their patients in the overtreatment of low-risk prostate cancer,” said Dr. James Kearns, from Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute. “So when a man like you has Gleason 6 or Gleason Grade Group prostate cancer and is considered low risk, we know that upfront treatment with radiation or surgery doesn’t benefit.”

Dr. Kearns is considered to be one of the south’s leading prostate cancer specialists.

And in the interest of full disclosure, he’s also WBTV Anchor John Carter’s doctor.

Catching prostate cancer early is key.

In fact, the five-year survival rate for most people with local or regional prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent.

Dr. Kearns says he’s excited about the future of prostate cancer treatment.

“I think there’s a lot of excitement and a lot of research toward better understanding of how man’s genetics may impact his risk of developing prostate cancer over time,” Dr. Kearns said. “And we’re really excited about a lot of imaging technologies that are becoming available that may help us better diagnose and stage, or see how aggressive prostate cancer is upfront.”

Over the years, WBTV’s John Carter has chronicled his journey with prostate cancer as a means to encourage other men to be sure to get a prostate exam.

Carter is under an active surveillance program, and his biopsy last month brought good results.

The American Cancer Society recommends men should begin discussing prostate cancer screenings with their doctor around the age of 50 to 55.

Men with a history of prostate cancer in their family should begin screenings earlier.

The bottom line is to talk to your doctor about your prostate health.

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