Prostate cancer awareness … issues and events

Are You Aware of Your Personal Risk?

Almost every male is at some degree of risk for prostate cancer. With the exception of non-malignant skin cancer, prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer found in men all around the world.

At a minimum, The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink believes that every man over the age of 40 years of age should have a conversation with his primary care physician about his personal risk for prostate cancer. Regular tests, consisting of a physical examination and a prostate-specific antigen or PSA test are appropriate for many men, particularly those over 50 and any man who may be at higher risk for prostate cancer at a younger age. The recently developed Iowa Prostate Cancer Consensus has outlined recommendations regarding the appropriateness of PSA testing in men aged 75 years and older.

However, you should also be aware that the need for interventional treatment for prostate cancer is a much debated topic. Even if you have signs of possible risk for prostate cancer, you should be quite sure, before you have a biopsy, that you understand the possible risks and side effects of treatment for prostate cancer.

Major Prostate Cancer Awareness Events

Every year there are a series of events specifically designed to highlight prostate cancer awareness (some only in America; some in other countries; some around the world). The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink is either highly supportive of or actively associated with each of the events listed below:

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month — September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in America. President George H. W. Bush, the Senate, and the governors of over 40 states, at the instigation of the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, have signed formal proclamations recognizing this event.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Week — Since the early 1990s, the Prostate Cancer Education Council has coordinated a variety of events during Prostate Cancer Awareness Week, which always occurs during a week in September. In 2010, Prostate Cancer Awareness Week will start on September 19 and run through September 25.

Father’s Day — Father’s Day has become a day each year on which people are encouraged to talk to their fathers (or spouses, or significant others) about having appropriate tests to check risk for prostate cancer. In the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Fathers’ Day has been celebrated on the third Sunday in June since it became a national holiday in 1966. In Australia and New Zealand, fathers are honored on the first Sunday in September. Many other countries celebrate fathers throughout the year.

Sneakers@Work Day — The first Sneakers@Work Day was held in America in 2007, and was organized by the American Prostate Cancer Initiative. It is designed to raise money for prostate cancer research, education, and support through a variety of individual and corporate initiatives. This year Sneakers@Work Day will occur on September 17th, during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The fund-raising goal for 2010 is US$2 million.

Pints for Prostates — Pints for Prostates is a new event, started in 2008, and designed to enlist the beer industry in an initiative to encourage early prostate cancer detection. For more information, please visit the Pints for Prostates web site. In the words of Rick Lyke, the creative mind behind Pints for Prostates, “One of our goals is to get brewers to print a PSA testing message on the back of beer coasters they use to promote their brands in restaurants and taverns around the country. Men can tell you about their favorite IPA (India Pale Ale), but few know about their PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen). We need to help educate them about getting the simple blood test that measures prostate specific antigen because it can save their lives.”

The “Movember” Initiative — Every “Movember” (the month formerly known as November) men around the world grow mustaches (“Mo”s in “Strine”) to raise money for prostate cancer research.* Since 2004, the Movember Foundation, which started in Australia, has raised tens of millions of dollars around the world and is continuously working to increase awareness of prostate cancer within the community and change the attitude men have about their health. Formal branches of the Movember Foundation can now be found in Australia, the UK, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, other European nations, and South Africa, but you can participate anywhere in the world.

*Oh. You don’t know what “Strine” is? Strine is the proper term for Australian slang. It comes with its own dictionary and everything.

Content on this page last reviewed and updated June 13, 2010.