Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Monroe County, and prostate cancer is the leading cancer in men. On average, according to the Monroe County Department of Health, 642 area men are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, and another 79 die from it, annually. There are typically no symptoms for early-stage disease.
While prostate cancer is highly treatable, and may be curable when detected early, in 2012 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against routine screening for men. Since 2012, many urologists agree there is a rise in the number of men with advanced disease at their initial diagnosis. Yet, the USPSTF recommendation remains unchanged.
Adding fuel to the fire, access to unbiased information that helps men make fully informed decisions regarding prostate health is limited at best. In order to make informed treatment decisions, men need to know all available options, including those that may require travel or may not be covered by Medicare or medical insurance, such as proton beam versus photon beam radiation, stereotactic radiation and high intensity focal ultrasound, to name a few.
Most providers do not have the time required to discuss all the treatment options with their patient, let alone identify the risk vs. benefit and possible outcomes of each. Most men look to the internet as their trusted resource, but overlook the fact websites often are not updated with current information and typically support an organization’s own best interest. Choosing which treatment may provide the best outcome is a daunting task that often requires weeks of research, many sleepless nights and multiple medical appointments.
Us Too Rochester is an affiliate chapter of Us Too International, a nonprofit organization founded by those who have had prostate cancer to provide support, education and advocacy around the globe to those affected by prostate cancer. Chapter members attend meetings, staff information tables in shopping malls, provide mentoring for men with a recent diagnosis and conduct awareness events in local communities throughout the year. Educational seminars presented by Us Too Rochester are facilitated by medical providers and serve to keep men informed of advances in screening, diagnosis and treatment. Attendees get answers to questions while providers, oncologists and pharmaceutical representatives get quality time with their patients and consumers.
Prostate cancer seminars in Rochester coordinated by Us Too Rochester are free and open to the public, including military veterans. The next seminar is from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 25 at the Rochester Regional Health Riedman Campus Training Center, 100 Kings Highway, Rochester. Spouses or significant others are encouraged to attend, and a diagnosis is not required. A morning coffee service will be available at 8 a.m. Lunch is included. For reservations, call 585-787-4011. Interested sponsors should send an email to pfisher0317@gmail.com.
Who may benefit by being screened for prostate cancer? Caucasian men ages 50 and older; African-American men ages 35 and older; men with a family history of the disease; military veterans exposed to Agent Orange, especially Vietnam veterans; men taking testosterone supplements without a doctor’s care; and transgender women with a prostate can benefit from routine screening.
For information, visit ustoo.org or bit.ly/2kwufQO.