Study finds majority of Americans unaware early prostate cancer has no symptoms

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Study finds majority of Americans unaware early prostate cancer has no symptoms

Dr. David Samadi gives his expert opinion on how 3 out of 4 Americans are unaware that prostate cancer initially does not have noticeable symptoms.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) recently released its PCF 3P Report 2018: Public Perception of Prostate Cancer, a study testing the American public’s knowledge and perception about prostate cancer. This lack of understanding could be leading many men astray on delaying or simply not getting screened for prostate cancer.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation, founded in 1993, is a leading philanthropic organization funding and promoting prostate cancer research. During this time, it has raised more than $765 million and has provided funding for more than 2,000 research programs.

“This report significantly demonstrates the absolute importance of educating men and their families on prostate cancer health and prostate cancer awareness,” exclaimed Dr. David Samadi. “This concerns me a great deal to learn that 69% of Americans are not aware that early stage prostate cancer has no noticeable symptoms and that only one-third of those surveyed realized that prostate cancer screening simply involves a blood test.  This is one of the reasons why I am passionate about keeping prostate cancer in the forefront of men’s minds.”

This 2018 survey conducted by PCF asked more than 2,000 men and women from across the U.S. who were18 and older, including Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers, on their knowledge and recognition of and about prostate cancer.  Key findings from this survey were the following:

·      The top three reasons why men do not get prostate cancer screenings is because of fear of the unknown, uncomfortableness with having a digital rectal exam, and embarrassment.

·      Almost half of all Americans believed that prostate cancer screening involves a physical exam rather than a blood test.

·      42% of participants believed that the main reason for a man to be screened for prostate cancer is only if symptoms are present.

·      Millennials were the most uninformed group surveyed with one in five believing that women could also get prostate cancer.  

“Clearly there is much work to be done educating the public about prostate cancer helping men make the best decisions for them,” stated Dr. Samadi. “I completely understand why men are squeamish about a digital rectal exam. But if they realize that a prostate specific antigen blood test (PSA) can be used for screening, it appears more men would get screened.  My professional opinion on when men should be screened for prostate cancer is to have a baseline PSA beginning at age 40.  This establishes a reference point to be compared to as a man ages.  Even though it’s not as common, men under the age of 50, can and do get prostate cancer which is often more aggressive.”

Dr. Samadi went on to add, “A very troubling concern from the survey is that minorities, including African American men, are less likely to be screened.  This is worrisome since African American men have a much higher risk of developing prostate cancer than men of any other ethnicity, and are 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease than Caucasian men. In addition, it was found that few men are aware of the genetic link between prostate and breast cancer and only 12% believe that the BRCA gene known to increase breast cancer, is also related to prostate cancer.”  Studies such as this, keeps me motivated to continue educating and encouraging men to be screened early.  Knowledge is power. Men like to be in control. Let’s equip them with basic facts on prostate cancer keeping them healthy for years to come.”

Patients newly diagnosed with prostate cancer can contact urologic oncologist expert and world renowned robotic surgeon, Dr. David Samadi, for a free phone consultation and to learn more about prostate cancer risk, call 212-365-5000.