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Prostate cancer facts and figures

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If you don’t know, you need to: Prostate cancer is deadly, and more prevalent than you might think. For unknown reasons, the disease is more common in African American men than in whites, and death rates are far higher for black men than whites.

The more information you have, the more proactive you can be in prevention efforts. The Massachusetts Prostate Cancer Coalition (MPCC) is hosting its 11th Annual Prostate Cancer Symposium on Thursday, May 15, to help curious community members get involved in getting and staying healthy. The MPCC has also compiled national statistics to come up with the following facts and figures:

• A case of prostate cancer is diagnosed every 135 seconds, or just over two minutes, representing 33 percent of all new cancer cases in American men. It represents more new cases than any other cancer.

• In 2008, nearly 4,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in Massachusetts.

• In 2007, approximately 218,900 men were newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, and approximately 27,000 died as a result of the disease. While that figure may sound high, it is down 1 percent from 2006, thanks largely to earlier screening and new treatments.

• One in six American men is at lifetime risk of prostate cancer. If a close relative has prostate cancer, a man’s risk more than doubles.

• African American men have the highest prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates in the world. One in four African American men is at lifetime risk of prostate cancer. Approximately 31,000 African American men will be diagnosed this year. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in African American men.

• Prostate cancer accounts for more than 16.7 percent of new cancer cases in the United States, yet only 7 percent of cancer research dollars have been devoted to beating the disease. Last year, $485 million was put toward prostate cancer research, up from $69.2 million in 1994.

• Almost 100 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive in five years (not including those who died from other causes). Over 90 percent of prostate cancer cases are found while the cancer is still either local or regional.

For more information on what you can do to get educated and stay healthy, don’t miss the 11th Annual Prostate Cancer Symposium on Thursday, May 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The event is open to the public at no charge. For more information and to register, call the Massachusetts Prostate Cancer Coalition at 617-482-3044.