Who is at risk for prostate cancer?

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WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The spotlight on prostate cancer is shining brightly after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently underwent surgery to treat the cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

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Earlier this week, King Charles III was poised to undergo a “corrective procedure” for an enlarged prostate, according to Buckingham Palace. The palace said the king’s condition is benign and that Britain’s 75-year-old king will undergo the procedure next week at a hospital.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the most common prostate problem for men older than 50, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.

The publicity around the king’s surgery is seen as an opportunity to encourage other men to have their prostates checked. An enlarged prostate is common in men over age 50.

The condition affects how one urinates and is not usually a serious health threat. It’s not cancer and does not lead to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, according to Dr. Pamela Coleman, associate professor of urology at the Howard University’s College of Medicine.

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“Having an enlarged prostate, commonly called BPH, does not mean that you’re going to have prostate cancer,” Coleman said. “There are two separate diseases or conditions that can exist in the prostate together. They don’t necessarily cause the other.

Coleman said having an enlarged prostate does not mean that person would end up getting prostate cancer.

Secretary Austin’s cancer was detected during a routinely recommended health screening he had in early December, according to a statement from doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

The National Institutes of Health said prostate cancer is considered a disease of older men, but now more than 10% of new diagnoses occur in U.S. men younger than 55 years. Many men with prostate cancer do not experience symptoms until the disease has spread.

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“There are no symptoms in the early stages. These are the stages that when passive cancer is localized and can best be cured and treated and managed and the later stages, however, when the cancer has spread, spreading into the bones, the lymph nodes, the other areas in the body, then there may be symptoms like bone pain and weight loss. The usual symptoms that you can see with advanced cancer,” Coleman said.

There are several risk factors when it comes to getting prostate cancer, according to the CDC. All men are at risk for prostate cancer. Out of every 100 American men, about 13 will get prostate cancer during their lifetime, and about two to three men will die from it.

The most common risk factor is age. The older a man is, the greater the chance of getting prostate cancer. African American men or those who have a family history of prostate cancer are at an increased risk of getting it or dying from it. African American men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men and are more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer.

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According to the CDC, for some men, genetic factors may put them at higher risk of prostate cancer. You may have an increased risk of getting a type of prostate cancer caused by genetic changes that are inherited if—

  • Your one of your immediate family members or relatives has had prostate cancer.

  • You were diagnosed with prostate cancer when you were 55-years old-or younger.

  • You were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and other members of your family have been diagnosed with breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer.

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