When you’re a young man there are certain things you don’t bother to think about like losing your hair, slowing down, needing a cane to walk, or getting prostate cancer. Young guys consider these all “old man” issues. Not so fast though. Maybe the others will take decades before you have to face them, but prostate cancer in young men is increasing. Here’s what you should know.
Changing Statistics For Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer in older adolescents and young men has increased in most countries of the world.
According to the US National Cancer Institute there has been an increase in all groups between the ages of 15 to 40. This age group was 6 times more likely to get prostate cancer than older men.
The five year survival rate is less than an older man’s survival rate. For example:
- Survival rate for men between the ages of 40 to 80 is 95-100%
- Survival rate for men between the ages of 15 to 24 is 30%
- Survival rate for men between the ages of 20 to 29 is 50%
- Survival rate for men between the ages of 25 to 34 is 80%
Tumors In Young Men Are More Aggressive
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among African-American, Hispanic, and white men in the US. Luckily the five year survival rate is high over the age of 40, but the tumors of younger men grow more quickly making you less likely to survive.
Family History Plays A Major Role
Men who have a father, brother, or son who developed prostate cancer at a young age are at the highest risk to develop prostate cancer. Knowing your family history could help save your life.
Causes Are Unclear
Many think that growing obesity in the US is contributing to the increase in prostate cancer in young men. In addition, some believe physical inactivity is involved along with HPV infections, substance exposure and environmental carcinogens.
If you are a young man, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight and healthy diet could help you live longer.
Testing Is Easy But Timing Is Inconclusive
You can be tested for prostate cancer in the doctor’s office with a digital rectal exam and a blood test.
Speak with your physician about your individual situation and when you should begin testing. If you have higher than average risk you may want to begin testing at age 40.
Early Stage Prostate Cancer And Watchful Waiting
This is employed along with regular evaluations and imaging tests to watch for any progression of the cancer. It helps avoid over-treatment and risks like urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction.
Talk with your doctor about your individual risk of prostate cancer if you are a young man.