September Is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

H. Ballentine Carter, M.D.

Prostate cancer is the second-most-common cancer among men, behind skin cancer, with African-American men having the highest prostate cancer incidence in the world. Understanding and treating prostate cancer is a constantly evolving science. Recent information may leave men confused. Here, Johns Hopkins prostate cancer expert H. Ballentine Carter, M.D., tackles questions that are on many minds.

Q: How can I tell that I, or someone that I know, has prostate cancer?

A: Early prostate cancer may be present without any symptoms. It can often be detected with screening tests.

Q: Should I get my PSA levels checked?

A: PSA testing has become a polarizing topic, with experts insisting the risks outweigh the potential benefits. If you’re between the ages of 55 and 69, are African-American or if you have a family history, speak to your doctor about prostate cancer screening. Only you and your doctor can determine the appropriate course of action based on your health and background.

Q: What is the survival rate for someone living with prostate cancer?

A: In the past 25 years, the five-year survival rate for all stages combined has increased from 68 to nearly 100 percent, thanks to better detection and treatment.

Q: Can a baldness drug prevent or reduce the incidence of prostate cancer?

A: Finasteride, a baldness drug, has generated buzz after two studies suggested the drug was capable of reducing the incidence of minor prostate cancers. Dr. Carter, after reviewing the methodology, believes the results are overpromising and that finasteride does not appear to be an effective method of prostate cancer prevention.

Q: Where can I find more information?

A: Visit for more information. Also, you can join Johns Hopkins radiation oncologists Ted DeWeese, M.D., and Danny Song, M.D., on Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 7 to 8 p.m. for an online webinar as they discuss  advanced options for increasing the effectiveness of the treatment while reducing side effects. Sign up today for the health seminar.

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