Around 70 percent of men over age 70 have at least some cancerous cells in their prostate; however, only 11.6 percent of men ever receive a prostate cancer diagnosis. Back in the 1990s, the approach was to screen all men and intervene in all diagnosed cases, although prostate cancer is often slow-growing and asymptomatic.
“We failed to recognize that there were a lot of cancers we were treating that didn’t have the potential to harm the patient,” Samir Taneja, MD, director of the Division of Urologic Oncology and co-director of NYU Langone’s Smilow Comprehensive Prostate Cancer Center, tells Esquire. “Doctors were ripping up the lawn to pull out the weeds.”
Times have changed. Those who have a family history, are African American, have cancer-causing genetic mutations, or are over 55 are known to be at higher risk for prostate cancer. There are many options for screening and treating a detected prostate cancer, including the active surveillance approach for early stage cancers in lower-risk groups.
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