In the News

Dr. Katz Participates in Kick-Off to Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

On Wednesday, September 1, urologic surgical oncologist Dr. Matthew Katz joined the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation for their kick-off to Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The following are the remarks he made to those in attendance.

Dr. Katz’s Remarks
Today may seem like the beginning of just another month for many. But for men, this is an important month because it’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. This month, we come together to increase awareness of prostate cancer and to remind you that this cancer can be cured when identified early.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. And as modern medical advancements reduce mortality rates from other health-related conditions, namely heart disease and stroke, more men are exceeding age 65, when prostate cancer is most commonly diagnosed. 

The three most important risk factors for developing prostate cancer are: 

  1. Having a known family history of the disease
  2. Being African American
  3. Being, or likely to be, a carrier of the BRCA1 or 2 genetic mutations

Screenings are important because prostate cancer is asymptomatic. When patients experience symptoms, including blood in the urine, trouble urinating or bone pain, it usually indicates late-stage disease, when treatment options are more limited.

In the United States, the average percentage of men aged 40 or older who get regular screenings for prostate cancer decreased from nearly 62% in 2008 to 50% in 2016. Concurrently, the average number of men diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer increased from 6.4 to 9 per 100,000 men. 

While approximately three-fourths of men are diagnosed with localized disease, or cancer that has not spread outside the prostate, an increasing number present with metastatic prostate cancer. And while survival with metastatic prostate cancer has improved, the unfortunate reality is that less than one-third of men survive five years after diagnosis. That is one-third too many men who are gone too soon. 

As a two-year fellowship-trained urologic oncologist at CARTI, I cannot stress enough the importance of prostate cancer screenings. 

When figuring out the screening frequency that is right for you, here are some general guidelines I recommend:

  • For Men of Average Risk: Initiate screening for prostate cancer at age 50, as long as life expectancy is at least ten years.
  • For Men Who Carry the BRCA 1 or 2 Mutation: Begin screening for prostate cancer at age 40.
  • For African American Men and Men with Positive Family History: Begin screening with PSA starting at age 40. The PSA test is a blood test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood.

Today I challenge every man in attendance and those joining us virtually to prioritize their prostate health and schedule an exam. The Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation offers free screenings at numerous sites across the state. For a complete listing of upcoming screening events, visit ARProstateCancer.org.

For more information, talk to your physician or call The CARTI Health Line, the state’s only cancer-focused hotline, at 501.CARTI.4U (501.227.8448)