Prostate Cancer Myths: June 15, 2019

Each year more than 160,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. But when it comes to the understanding the disease, doctors say there are a lot of misconceptions. “One myth related to prostate cancer is that it’s an old man’s disease and it’s not,” said Dr. Constantine Mantz, a radiation oncologist on the medical staff of Lee Health.

While a patient’s risk does increase as they age, studies show about one in five men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer before they reach age 60.  “Prostate cancer sometimes will occur in younger patients because there’s a family history or a genetic predisposition to developing the disease,” said Dr. Mantz.

A second myth is patients with BPH, benign prostatic hyperplasia, are at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer. “Although we certainly have patients with both conditions, there’s never been a compelling study that has associated one with the other,” he said.

Many patients believe all prostate cancer is a slow growing---but doctors say that to is false. “About 50 percent of patients do have the slow-growing prostate cancer. About 35 percent will have an intermediate risk of prostate cancer, one that is likely to spread over a period of ten years. How we judge the risk of prostate cancer is a truly individualized process,” said Dr. Mantz.

But the most recent myth is screening for prostate cancer has no impact on the patient’s lifespan or mortality. Doctors encourage yearly screening for men after the age of 60. “There are certain groups of patients who need to be identified, and they need to be treated, and you will never identify them unless you screen for prostate cancer using a simple PSA test,” he said.

Knowing and understanding the disease can help patients take precautions.