MDCH Recognizes September As Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Contact: Kelly Niebel (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

September 9, 2008

To reaffirm Michigan's strong and continued commitment to the fight against prostate cancer, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) are recognizing September as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. In recognition of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Michigan aims to increase public education of this disease.

Demonstrating her commitment in the fight against prostate cancer, Governor Granholm signed income tax check-off legislation in November 2007 allowing Michigan taxpayers to contribute to the Prostate Cancer Research Fund. Dollars designated for the Prostate Cancer Research Fund will be distributed through a grant program that supports prostate cancer research in Michigan.

Prostate cancer continues to be the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Michigan men. In 2005, 925 men in the state died of the disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2008, 850 Michigan men will die of the disease and 7,180 new cases will be diagnosed.

The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but several factors have been found to increase the risk of developing the disease:

- Age - The older a man is, the greater his risk for getting prostate cancer.

- Family history - A man with a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer is two-three times more likely to develop the disease himself.

- Race - Prostate cancer is more common in some racial and ethnic groups than in others, but medical experts do not know why. Prostate cancer is more common among African-American men than white men. It is less common among Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American men.

There may be no symptoms of prostate cancer. Today, early stage prostate cancer is most often detected with a blood test, Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), before the cancer has caused symptoms.

Prostate cancer is different from other cancers in that most cases are of the slow growing type. Men are encouraged to get tested for prostate cancer. If it is found, they must decide on a treatment option based on the risk and benefits.

The Michigan Cancer Consortium has developed a decision aid, Making the Choice: Deciding What to Do About Early Stage Prostate Cancer to help men make informed decisions about treatment of early stage prostate cancer. The decision aids, available in English, Spanish, and Arabic, are available free of charge by calling 800-249-0314 or visiting www.prostatecancerdecision.org.

For more information about prostate cancer, please visit the prostate cancer information section on the MDCH Web site, www.michigan.gov/cancer.