World renowned robotic prostate cancer surgeon, Dr. David Samadi, evaluates the parallels between Prostate cancer and Breast cancer. Prostate cancer is just as common in men as breast cancer is in women with over 233,000 cases diagnosed each year.
"These are parallel diseases. Obviously, breast cancer has had many teachable moments from celebrity health stories like Angelina Jolie and Rita Wilson's. However, prostate cancer continues to receive far less attention even though it is just as common in men. What were missing is the same vigilant attitude from men towards screening and prevention for prostate cancer. We need to work harder to educate and spread awareness around the risks of this disease," explained Dr. David Samadi, Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with Prostate cancer while 1 in 8 women with Breast cancer. Both stand as the most common type of cancer among men and women, with a new case being diagnosed on every 2 minutes.
They even share pathologic similarities, each having a gray-zone diagnoses and pre-cancerous lesions. Some even share genetic mutations, such as in the BRCA gene. Each has multiple treatment options with surgery considered definitive for an early diagnosis.
"In order to make the best choices, men need to arm themselves with information about their risk factors just as women have been encouraged to do in relation to breast cancer. This requires vigilance and knowing the right questions to ask. Early detection and patient empowerment are critical," stressed Dr. Samadi.
Effective screening for both types of cancers exist. For women it is the mammogram and men the PSA blood test along with a physical exam for both.
"A simple PSA blood test can indicate current antigens in the prostate. It's quick and painless. I've seen it over and over again in my practice. This screening truly saves lives," noted Dr. Samadi.
Early detection of breast and prostate cancer is critical. If a second opinion is sought out early on, it may be the critical factor in detecting the cancer.
Men are more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses than women, and 1.3 times more likely to develop cancer, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
"Men should be more — not less — attentive to their health, since they're at a greater risk. Arm yourself with knowledge about risk factors like family history and talk to your doctor. It could save your life," said Dr. Samadi.