On an average day six Israelis are diagnosed with prostate cancer and one dies of it, according to the Israel Cancer Association, which is holding its second annual Prostate Cancer Awareness Day on Monday.
'Every man aged 50 and over must recognize the symptoms,' said ICA chairman Prof. Eliezer Robinson. 'Don't die of shame. Go to your doctor.'
Each year some 2,250 Israelis are diagnosed with prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men, and 380 are killed. Risk increases with age and a family history of the disease (if your father, brother or son had prostate cancer, you are twice as likely to have it).
Smoking, drinking alcohol and an improper diet are also suspected as increasing risk. A new study published in the International Journal of Cancer links prostate cancer in its most aggressive form with being overweight or obese.
Because the type of tumor in prostate cancer develops slowly, 'every Israeli male should be aware of the disease and be examined,' Robinson said. 'There is no need to be ashamed. Diagnosis on time and treatment save lives.'
Mass screening for prostate cancer, however, is not recommended for all men since it has not been proven to reduce mortality. But men who are at high risk should get annual blood tests from the age of 40.
The PSA test, or prostate-specific antigen, checks the amount of a protein produced in cells of the prostate gland that is released into the bloodstream. The higher the PSA reading the more likely a man has prostate cancer. Rectal examinations and rectal ultrasound scans are also used to diagnose the disease.
For more information and a free booklet on prostate cancer, call the ICA at 1-800-599-995.