September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. South Carolina lies in the middle for the number of newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer each year, but it has one of the highest death rates from the disease. That’s according to Dr. Mark Merlin of RC Cancer Centers of Atlanta. Merlin appeared in Lexington recently speaking before a “Men with Purpose Group” about the importance of the early diagnosis of the disease. Merlin says the dispartiy of the disease between African American and Caucasion males is significant.
Merlin says there are many factors that are presumed to lead to advanced prostate cancer for all men regardless of race. Merlin says challenges to early detection include lack of screening, lack of awareness of options, and patients not getting into the healthcare system soon enough.
Merlin says the main message is that men need to get tested annually because prostate cancer can be treated successfully if detected early. Testing options are predicated primarily on a man’s age, race, and family health history.
Merlin says apprehension, fear, and lack of time are the primary reasons men don’t get screened periodically for the disease.