Healthier Together: Why deaths from prostate and testicular cancer are down

For the first time in US history, we’re seeing deaths from prostate and testicular cancer stabilize and maybe even decline.

That’s according to one of the leading experts in the field at Fred Hutch Cancer Center.

KIRO 7′s Ranji Sinha sat down with a doctor from Fred Hutch who says men should take control of their health sooner rather than later.

Dr. Yaw Nyame is an Affiliate Investigator and Associate Professor for Fred Hutch, and he knows that men’s health is often characterized as men ignoring their health.

“I think men, in general, don’t have traditional medical homes; when you’re younger, your parents make you go to the doctor -- but there’s that period in young males’ life where they don’t have a need to go see a physician routinely,” Dr. Nyame said.

Men are out in the world, working, exercising, living, and apparently not going to the doctor.

Dr. Nyame admits men without chronic conditions often don’t seek medical care, but they should, especially in their 40s.

“That routine of going in annually having to check up, discussing preventative health, I just think… unfortunately, that’s not the norm for a lot of men,” Dr. Nyame said.

June is National Men’s Health Month, but Dr. Nyame believes any month should be Men’s Health Month, especially because of cancer risks.

“I’m someone who treats prostate cancer, testicular cancer... I wish more men had a medical home discussing prevention and screening,” Dr. Nyame said.

One reason to start early is that there are a lot of great early-detection tools for prostate and testicular cancer.

Dr. Nyame says in the last decade, more men have been diagnosed with later-stage cancer -- but success rates for early detection and treatment are high, in the 97-99% range, depending on circumstances.

A rectal exam was one of the stigmas against men not getting screened, but Dr. Nyame says that’s no longer the modern standard.

“The screening is a blood test, and don’t let the rectal exam be the reason why you don’t proceed getting tested,” Dr. Nyam said.

Populations at risk for prostate or testicular cancer are:

  • Older Men.
  • Men with a family history of cancer.
  • Black populations in the U.S.

Dr. Nyame says 1-in-8 men in the U.S. will develop prostate cancer, and it’s estimated that 300K will be diagnosed this year.

“Starting screening or considering screening at the age of 40 for those high-risk groups I mentioned is important,” Dr. Nyame said.

He admits the information age is allowing people to be better informed. He hopes men take that info to their doctor whether they’re sick or not.

“Living with cancer, living after cancer treatments is going to change someone’s life… I think that there is more work to be done. We see plenty of men in the community that are not aware of what their risks are as they get older, as they reach the 4th and 5th decade of life, but I think there are lot of people doing the work to try to get the word out,” Dr. Nyame said.

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