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Age & Prostate Cancer

There are many factors that may determine if a man is at risk for developing prostate cancer in his lifetime, including family history, a diet high in fat, race (African-Americans are more at risk for developing prostate cancer), and alcohol use. Every man should be screened at regular checkups throughout his life but especially so – and perhaps more often – if they have any of these risk factors.

But one of the most prevailing risk factors is age. Once a man reaches the age of 50, they become more at risk for developing prostate cancers. Here are some important facts to keep in mind with regard to prostate cancer and age:

Prostate cancer is quite common in older men. In fact, over 70% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are over 65 years of age.

One-third of American men actually already have microscopic signs of prostate cancer by the time they reach age 50.

Three-quarters of men will begin to experience changes to their prostate that may indicate cancer by the age of 75.

In most cases, prostate cancers found in men of more advanced ages, are slow-growing, don’t produce any symptoms, and generally pose no overall health risk.

One of the tests for prostate cancer is a PSA test during which the levels of prostate specific antigen in the blood is measured. Typically, elevated levels of PSA are indicative of infection, an enlarged prostate, and, in some cases, prostate cancer. For this reason, doctors recommend getting a baseline PSA measurement at the age of 40 to determine the average level of PSA in your blood so that changes can be detected down the road. It is important to remember that infection and enlarged prostate are also common conditions as we age so an elevated PSA is not necessarily indicative of the existence of cancer; but it can be a number that can determine if further testing is required.

Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among American men. But, luckily, with advanced forms of detection and treatment, we are able to diagnose cancer at its earliest stages and plan appropriate treatment, if required, for the best possible cure.