A new report published today estimates a 5% increase in prostate cancer deaths in 2013 and signal a new trend of fewer men being diagnosed with the disease. Compared to a 15% decrease in prostate cancer deaths in 2012, this year’s increase could be attributed to men with aggressive forms of the disease forgoing early detection.

“We must remain vigilant in the fight to end prostate cancer by increasing research funding, raising awareness and education, and continuing to test men with risk factors,” noted Skip Lockwood, CEO of ZERO ? The End of Prostate Cancer.

Data from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that in 2013, new cases of prostate cancer will decrease, while death rates from the disease will increase. In 2013, it is estimated that 29,720 men will die from the disease and 238,590 new cases will be diagnosed.

Positive development?
While the decrease in new prostate cancer cases may be viewed in a positive light, it may also point to a growing trend of fewer men being tested for the disease. A recent report in the journal Frontiers in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention found that the number of Americans seeking cancer screening has declined over the past decade, with less than optimal levels for most types of cancer. The report attributed the decline in testing to disagreements among the groups that set recommendations, including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and American Cancer Society, along with rising numbers of uninsured people.

Saving lives
Ongoing research shows that early detection saves lives. Over the past 25 years, the five-year relative survival rate for all stages of prostate cancer combined has increased from 68 percent to almost 100 percent, which can be attributed to the widespread use of the PSA blood test for the disease.

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Varying Results
For reasons that remain unclear, prostate cancer incidence rates are significantly higher in African Americans than in Caucasians, and death rates in African Americans remain more than twice as high as those in Caucasians. Other risk factors for prostate cancer include age and family history of the disease.

Studies suggest that a diet high in processed meat or dairy foods may also be a risk factor. Obesity may increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer, and obesity and smoking are associated with an increased risk of dying from the disease.

Says ZERO’s Lockwood: “We believe that men should take a proactive approach to their health, and discuss prostate cancer risk factors and testing options with their doctor.”

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