September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month-
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men only preceded by skin cancer. In the United States alone, 14 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, adding up to almost 200,000 new cases yearly. September is recognized as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month to shine a light on this prevalent disease—and those affected by it. Although prostate cancer is often treatable, one of the keys to successful treatment is detecting the disease early.
While early detection can be a significant and an easy step to increase the success of treatment, many men do not routinely visit a doctor. A 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report showed that one-third of men do not visit a medical provider annually. That is 33 percent of the male population who receive no medical evaluations over the course of a year, let alone a cancer screening. Without routine medical exams, many men become their own worst enemy when it comes to limiting the impact of the disease because they miss out on vital opportunities for early diagnosis.
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (PCAM) got its official start in 1999; however, prior to this month of recognition, the United States observed Prostate Cancer Awareness Week. No matter the name or the length of time, the ultimate goal of these awareness programs is to raise understanding of this disease and encourage men to seek medical care to diagnose—and ultimately treat—prostate cancer in its early stages. Age, family history, and race all play key roles in a man’s likelihood of developing prostate cancer and should be taken into consideration. Men who are 40 years or older should begin to consider consulting with a doctor about prostate cancer, depending on their family history. Providing these details to the general public will hopefully increase the number of high-risk men who participate in regular screenings and check-ups with their physicians.
In order to increase recognition and discussion of prostate cancer, Marvel Comics has united with American Cancer Society (ACS) to reproduce iconic superhero comic book covers centered on Iron Man, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Thor, and the Avengers donning light blue attire to match prostate cancer’s theme color. Each hero will have their own comic book that will be released during the month of September. The goal of the new initiative is very similar to other PCAM program objectives—to raise awareness about prostate cancer. The more people talk about the disease, the less stigma there is associated with getting screened at an appropriate age (based on risk factors).
In addition to Marvel and ACS, other prominent cancer associations recognize Prostate Cancer Awareness Month with initiatives, fundraisers for research, and activities to raise awareness of the disease like wearing light blue. The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) has partnered with boxing legend Evander Holyfield to in a Man-Up Campaign encouraging men to get checked for prostate cancer.
This campaign includes an in-depth interview with Holyfield on fighting prostate cancer in African-Americans. Popular sporting good brand ASICS has also teamed up with PCF to create a signature shoe in blue raising awareness and funds as the company plans to donate $10 for every pair sold. ZERO, a U.S.-based nonprofit that works to end prostate cancer, sponsors a ZERO Prostate Run/Walk events, with races across the country to raise money for prostate cancer treatment research. Although they have these events throughout the year, many of the largest are centered on PCAM.
With one man out of every seven diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States, someone you know will most likely face this disease. This September, take some time to focus on Prostate Cancer Awareness month. Visit your doctor and educate yourself on the signs and treatment of prostate cancer.
A simple doctor’s appointment could shed light on any current issues or future issues you may experience.