TAMPA, Fla. - It is the most common cancer in men. One in nine fathers, brothers, uncles, and sons will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Being screened for the disease could save your life.
NBC’s Today Show weather anchor Al Roker opened up about a very private matter Friday morning. The 66-year-old is in the midst of a battle with prostate cancer.
“Good news is, we caught it early, not great news. It’s a little aggressive so I’m going to be taking some time off to take care of this,” Roker said.
Prostate cancer is a serious disease and it is very common. One in nine men will face a prostate cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.
“Many men are surprised when they find out they have prostate cancer, and then they start asking around and many of their friends, their family members have prostate cancer,” said Dr. Julio Pow-Sang, department chair of Genitourinary Oncology at Moffit Cancer Center.
Men are more at risk to develop the disease as they advance in age. Chances are higher if it runs in your family. African American men are 50% more likely to get prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from it.
Roker’s announcement should be a reminder to all men to take their health seriously.
Pow-Sang added, “I can’t over-emphasize this, for men to learn as much as possible about prostate health and prostate cancer so they can make an informed decision.”
Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and there often are no detectable symptoms.
The screening is a simple blood test that checks levels of prostate-specific antigen -- or PSA level. It is the first indication you might have cancer.
“The recommendation is to have these discussions starting at age 45-50 to discuss the risks and the benefits of getting a PSA,” said Pow-Sang. “I personally think that it’s a good idea to get a baseline PSA.”
Most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it.
“If you detect it early, this is a really treatable disease and it’s why I wanted to take you along so we can all learn together how to educate and protect the men in our lives,” Roker said.
Because it could be your father, your brother, uncle, son or grandpa, and awareness could make them the next survivor.