September Is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
A Guest Column by State Senator Dave Burke
September 18, 2014
 
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In addition to serving as a Senator in the Ohio General Assembly, I have owned and operated a pharmacy in my hometown of Marysville, Ohio since 1997. As health care providers, one of the most important roles of pharmacists is to promote health and prevent disease within the community. With this in mind, I want to let you know that September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Late last year I sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 10, which called on Congress to seek the withdrawal of the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation against prostate-specific antigen-based screening for prostate cancer for men in all age groups. 

Simply put, the USPSTF recommendation against screening puts men in harm’s way. Fortunately, my legislative colleagues agreed with me. Both the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives unanimously adopted SCR 10.  

But my work on this issue isn’t done; a resolution alone won’t save lives. Allow me share a few facts about prostate cancer with you to illustrate the importance of screenings and early detection:

  • Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer in men in the United States, with one in six American men being diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men in the United States.
  • Just last year, the American Cancer Society estimated that more than 240,000 men in the United States would be diagnosed with prostate cancer and nearly 30,000 men would die from the disease. In Ohio alone, there are approximately 7,961 newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer and 1,232 deaths from the disease on an annual basis.
  • Those who are most at risk are the underinsured; those who live in areas where health care is not readily available; those who have a family history of prostate cancer; and African-American men, who have a higher incidence of and higher mortality rate from prostate cancer than Caucasian men. 

By the time a man experiences symptoms of prostate cancer, the disease is generally too advanced to cure. So what can you do to make to take charge of your prostate health? First, start the discussion with your doctor sooner than later. While you may not need a screening today, a doctor is in the best position to talk about the benefits and risks of testing.  For information on low cost and free prostate cancer detection events visit www.prostateconditions.org or www.zerocancer.org.

Remember, understanding prostate health today could help save your life or the life of someone you love tomorrow.

 
 
 
  
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