Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 21:21 EDT

Free And Low-Cost Prostate Cancer Screening Opportunities Across The Country Aim To Improve Early Diagnosis, Survival

September 11, 2012

Patient Group Highlights the Importance of Biomarkers as Part of Annual Prostate Cancer Awareness Week (Sept. 16-22)

DENVER, Sept. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As the debate over the benefits of prostate cancer screening continues, new research reinforces that early testing and diagnosis are key to survival. A new study released in late August by the Journal of Urology shows there is value in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, as men diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer lived longer during the time when PSA testing was widely recommended when compared to the pre-PSA testing era. In addition, another study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine shows a nearly 30 percent reduction in prostate-cancer mortality among men who underwent screening for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.

To alert men to the dangers of prostate cancer and the importance of early detection, and to educate on innovations in screening options, the Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC) holds an annual Prostate Cancer Awareness Week (PCAW). This year’s PCAW will be held the week of September 16. The goal of PCAW is to provide at-risk men in the U.S. with a free or low-cost opportunity to get tested for prostate cancer, and this year the PCEC expects more than 125,000 men will be screened. During PCAW, testing centers will be set up around the country where men can receive prostate screenings, along with other health assessments.

“As the research shows, countless lives could be saved if more men knew about the dangers of prostate cancer and took action to get tested,” explains Wendy Poage, MHA, president of the PCEC. “This year, nearly 30,000 American men will die from prostate cancer. That is just too many for a disease that is often treatable when caught early.”

During the past several years, researchers have introduced many exciting medical advances in prostate cancer testing, which mean improved and more accurate options for men. Biomarker tests, which identify a specific mark on a person’s DNA for cancer, are helping men better understand their risk for developing the disease. They are also reducing unnecessary biopsies with more accurate readings and the re-testing of previously collected prostate tissues. Biomarker tests can also help to define an effective course of treatment for men with prostate cancer by distinguishing between aggressive and non-aggressive tumors and predicting survival rates.

As part of PCAW, PCEC is providing patients with more information about existing and expected biomarker tests on their website.

“While these scientific advancements can provide tremendous benefit, it’s also important for men to remember that a screening that shows an elevated PSA level is not a diagnosis,” said Poage. “And, with a prostate cancer diagnosis, immediate treatment is not always necessary. Sometimes active surveillance, or watchful waiting, can be the best course of action for a patient with a small, non-aggressive tumor.”

Keith Wegen, 45, of Broomfield, Colorado, knows well the value of prostate cancer screening. After not feeling his healthy and active self for several years, he was screened and diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. While his diagnosis was delayed because doctors considered him too young for prostate cancer, Wegen is now a survivor working to spread the word about the benefits of early testing.

“Early detection saved my life,” said Wegen. “More men need to know about their risk, and their opportunities to get screened. If I can save just one life through my efforts, I will have done my job.”

As a leading authority on prostate cancer, the PCEC recommends a prostate health assessment for all men beginning at 35 years of age, including PSA and digital rectal exam (DRE). The organization has detailed guidelines for men and their doctors for PSA monitoring, to help men avoid unnecessary biopsies and treatment.

Screenings during PCAW takes approximately 10 minutes and includes a PSA blood test and DRE performed by a trained professional. Men also have the option to receive a cholesterol and testosterone level check, to promote overall health awareness and the evaluation of other prostate cancer risk factors. PCAW is one of the longest-running and most successful screening programs in history. To find a nearby PCAW screening site and for more information on prostate cancer, visit http://www.prostateconditions.org/screening-site or call toll free 866-4PROST8.

About Prostate Cancer Awareness Week
Since 1989, the PCEC has coordinated national Prostate Cancer Awareness Week in September. During this time period, the PCEC organizes hundreds of free or low-cost screening sites for more than 125,000 men across the country. To date, the program has resulted in more than three million screenings. For more information about how the PCEC supports community awareness and education, please visit www.prostateconditions.org.

About the Prostate Conditions Education Council
A national organization committed to men’s health, the Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC) – formally the Prostate Cancer Education Council – is the nation’s leading resource for information on prostate health. The PCEC is dedicated to saving lives through awareness and the education of men, the women in their lives, as well as the medical community about prostate cancer prevalence, the importance of early detection, available treatment options, and other men’s health issues. The Council – comprised of a consortium of leading physicians, health educators, scientists and prostate cancer advocates – aims to conduct nationwide screenings for men and perform research that will aid in the detection and treatment of prostate conditions. More information is available at www.prostateconditions.org.

SOURCE Prostate Conditions Education Council

Source: PR Newswire