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by Jamie Bearse   |   January 5, 2018

What The 2018 Cancer Facts & Figures Really Means for Prostate Cancer

Everywhere you look on the news today, there are high fives all around about a drop in cancer mortality rates – down nearly two percent since 2015. On the surface, it’s a good step toward minimizing the pain and suffering endured by many American families, but one important detail that the media and medical advisors have glossed over is that prostate cancer deaths jumped 10 percent this year.

It’s the largest jump in prostate cancer deaths in a decade.

Why? The United States Preventative Task Force Service and medical institutions like Dartmouth University fight a blind crusade against prostate cancer testing, claiming that a high PSA blood test instantly converts a patient into over-treatment for the disease. No person should be treated for a disease or a condition that won’t cause harm.

What happens? Deterring men from a simple blood test is killing some of those men as general practice doctors and some in the media don’t dig deeper to find the facts:

1) 99 percent survive when prostate cancer is caught early.

2) From testing to treatment decision, prostate cancer has the slowest diagnosis rate in the world – giving ample time to make the best decision for each patient.

Instead, men go to the doctor and never talk about the risks of prostate cancer.

How Often? Over recent years, its happened enough to escalate the number of men getting diagnosed after reporting symptoms, a sure sign you have advanced disease and chances of five-year survival from the disease plummets from 99 percent to 30 percent. And now the data shows that: last year, prostate cancer deaths totaled 26,730; this year, the National Cancer Institute estimates 29,430.

I spoke with a longtime ZERO champion this week who told me there isn’t a day that goes by where the phantom voice of her husband’s doctor doesn’t echo through her head, “I wish I was able to do surgery on you a year ago, then you’d have a chance.”

She’s not alone.

Where do we go from here? A more holistic approach to prostate cancer that incorporates the bright ideas our nation’s expert researchers have unlocked in determining aggressive tumors from indolent ones during the diagnostic process must be recognized and encouraged. It’s far past the time for the task force and various medical boards to support and educate patients and doctors that there is a multi-step process in sparing men who don’t need treatment from the ones who face a future of aggressive disease.

Call them out, keep spreading awareness, share your story, and support research. The more we do will quicken the end of misinformation and supply the needed resources to the nation’s top researchers to find cures and continue to improve upon the tools to spare men from unnecessary treatment from the ones who require individualized treatment.

Will you help champion our cause? Share your story.

Read the full 2018 Cancer Facts & Figures report, compiled by the American Cancer Society from National Cancer Institute SEER, NAACCR, and CDC data, here.