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Prostate cancer strikes 98 locals annually

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer in American men.

It is the second greatest cause for cancer-related death in men. Every year, at least 98 men in Nevada County are diagnosed with this disease.

One in every six men will get prostate cancer sometime in his life.



The chances of getting prostate cancer are one in three if you have a close relative (father or brother) with the disease.

The National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) recommends that every man age 50 or over should resolve to be screened annually.




The American Urological Association (AUA) and the Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC) both recommend that early detection screening be offered to men who are without symptoms and who are 40 years or older, and have a life expectancy of at least 10 years. Men who are symptomatic or have other risk factors can choose to be screened starting at age 35.

The PCEC encourages men to “Choose to Know – and Know to Choose.” This means they should choose to know their Prostate Specific Antigen or PSA values, just as they would their cholesterol, and know that there are many choices and variables in determining if they need a biopsy and subsequent treatment if cancer is found.

The organization recommends a baseline prostate health assessment, including PSA and digital rectal exam (DRE), for all men at 40 years of age and at 35 for men at high risk (including those with a family history of prostate cancer and African-American men).

Based on this assessment, men with a PSA less than 1ng/ml should begin annual screening starting at age 50.

Those who have a PSA greater than 1ng/ml should discuss additional testing and screening with their doctor. The PCEC recommends annual screenings for these men. However, the PCEC does not advocate for screenings if a man’s life expectancy is less than 10 years.

The best chance for cancer survival occurs when cancer is detected at an early stage. Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Cancer Center is committed to providing low or no-cost prostate cancer screenings to our community in the effort to fight this disease.

Kyle Daughtery, Rotarian president and Paul Rohrer, board member of Grass Valley Rotarians would like to support advocacy, communication and funding to promote the early detection of prostate cancer in Nevada County.

“You don’t have to just live with this disease and do nothing about it,” said George Grayeb, a prostate cancer survivor and local Rotarian. “Detect it early, get it treated. You don’t have to go out of the area to get excellent treatment for prostate cancer. It is available right here in our community. Dr. Wong was my urologist and was terrific. SNMH Cancer Center is right here to help guide you in your treatment options.”

Two tests are commonly used to detect prostate cancer: a blood test, the PSA test and a physical exam, the digital rectal exam. They are usually administered by your regular doctor.

Men should start yearly screening at age 50. Men with one or more high risk factors should start yearly testing at 45 or earlier. Some men choose to take a PSA test at 40, to establish a baseline level for future comparison. The screening process takes about 10 minutes.

Before early detection through PSA screenings, only one in four prostate cancer cases were found while still in the early stages. With the widespread use of screening, about nine out of 10 cases are now found early.

There are no noticeable symptoms of prostate cancer while it is still in the early stages, which is why screening is so critical. In more advanced stages, symptoms may include difficult or frequent urination, blood in the urine or bone pain. In order to find prostate cancer in its most treatable form, it must be caught before symptoms are apparent.

On Monday, Sept. 20, SNMH will host a prostate cancer screening in our Cancer Center. DRE’s and PSA blood draws will be available. Dr. Duncan Harris, Dr. Alan Wong and Pati Stinnett, RN will be in attendance. The PSA test will cost $20. Light refreshments will be served. Call (530) 274-6635 for an appointment.

Men can choose to participate in a nation-wide men’s health study sponsored by the PCEC during their screening.

SNMH Cancer Center offers counseling and a Prostate Cancer Support Group. Call (530) 274-6600 for more information.


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