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reviewed 7/26/2018

Prostate cancer: Myth or fact?

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Find out how much you know about this common cancer.

Myth or fact: Prostate cancer occurs only in older men.

Myth. It's true that age is one of the leading risk factors for prostate cancer. However, more than 1 in 3 cases are diagnosed in men younger than age 65.

Myth or fact: Blood in the urine is an early sign of prostate cancer.

Myth. Prostate cancer usually doesn't cause any symptoms, especially in the early stage of the disease. Blood in the urine can be a sign of advanced prostate cancer, as can difficulty urinating; erectile dysfunction; or pain in the hips, back or chest.

Myth or fact: Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in American men.

Fact. Compared with other cancers, only colorectal and lung cancer cause more male deaths. Still, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer don't die from it. And most who do are older than 75.

Myth or fact: All men should be screened for prostate cancer at age 50.

Myth. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend routine screenings. The American Cancer Society encourages men to discuss their risk factors and the pros and cons of screening with their doctor at age 50 for men at average risk—but at age 40 or 45 for those at higher risk.

Myth or fact: The screening test for prostate cancer is called a PSA test.

Fact. PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. It's a substance made by the prostate. At high levels, it can indicate a problem—which could be infection, inflammation or maybe cancer. But the PSA test does not diagnose prostate cancer.

The PSA test isn't a perfect screening tool for prostate cancer. Before having the test, thoroughly review its risks and benefits with a doctor.

More about prostate cancer screening

Sources: American Cancer Society; Prostate Cancer Foundation; U.S. Prevention Services Task Force

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