Because prostate cancer tends to grow slowly and not all men
experience symptoms, physicians recommend screenings start at age 55. But MetroHealth urologist
Charles Modlin, MD, emphasizes the need for screenings in Black men to start much earlier.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among men in the United States, after skin cancer. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates 288,300 new cases will be diagnosed.
Because prostate cancer tends to grow slowly over many years, and not all men experience symptoms, physicians recommend that screenings for most men start at age 55. But MetroHealth urologist Charles Modlin, MD, emphasizes the need for screenings in Black men to start much earlier, at age 40.
Q: When should men start seeing a Urologist?
One of the most common conditions that we see is the benign enlargement of the prostate, which usually starts happening as we get older, around age 40. So, in addition to a primary care provider, all men need to have a urologist.
Q: When should black men start getting screened for prostate cancer?
Q: Why do black men need to get screened at a younger age?
Statistics show that 1 in 8 or 9 American men will develop prostate cancer. For Black men, it’s 1 in 6. And for Black men with a family history of prostate cancer – a father, brother, uncle, first cousin or grandfather who had it – it’s 1 in 5. So, we need to be more aggressive in screening these individuals.
Q: What does the screening consist of?
Q: What happens next?
The pathology results of a malignant tumor are graded using a system called the Gleason score, which goes from 6 to 10. The higher the number, the higher the grade, meaning the cancer is more likely to spread. Not every man diagnosed with prostate cancer needs to be treated right away, if at all. If the prostate cancer is a low grade, it may never affect them during their lifetime, if they’re in their 60s, 70s, 80s. But for younger men, it is likely that that cancer will enlarge enough over time to eventually require treatment.
Q: What is active surveillance?
Active surveillance has only been really part of the practice in the last 10 years or so. Before that, we probably were overtreating some men because every man who was diagnosed was recommended to undergo treatment.
One reason we’ve adopted active surveillance is to avoid some of the complications and side effects that can accompany treatment.
Q: What are the treatment options?
Some men with these low grades prefer to undergo treatment because they don’t like the thought of having cancer in their body and not having it addressed.