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African-American men at higher risk for prostate cancer

 Black American men have the highest risk of prostate cancer in the U.S. They also are at highest risk of dying from the disease.

Genetics and lack of access to health care are two main reasons for the high numbers.
 
Brent McCallen, 43, of Athens, is a little on the young side for prostate cancer with no family history of the disease. However, he was diagnosed, had surgery, and is doing well now.
 
He recently came UT Medical Center for a checkup with Dr. Bedford Waters.
 
But in a surprising turn of events, the renowned urologist who treated McCallen's cancer two years ago said he was just diagnosed with prostate cancer and plans to have surgery soon.
 
"I'm going to have robotic radical surgery. So it's very important for African-Americans to get tested," Dr. Waters explained.
 
African-American men have a one in three chance of prostate cancer if just one close relative has the disease. Genetics is one reason for the high numbers in this population. Another is access to health care.
 
What's scary is that there often are no real symptoms until the cancer is in its late stages.
 
McCallen was watching Dr. Oz one day when he realized he might have a problem. "He was talking about men's health and he said a sign of prostate cancer in men is when the stomach stays bloated a little bit," McCallen recalled.
 
He went in for a digital rectal exam, and Prostate-Specific Antigen or PSA blood test. Those tests don't detect cancer, but any irregularities the doctor finds in the physical exam and inflated numbers in the PSA test are indicators that the patient might need a biopsy.
 
"Your blood is drawn usually first, then a prostate exam is done," Dr. Waters explained. "It takes less than a minute to do. It's not painful. Men may feel like they're violated, but that's a misconception."
 
McCallen's PSA was an 8, which is a red flag. Dr. Waters said 2.5 or less is now considered "normal" in most cases.
 
"I was pretty shocked. I didn't know what PSA was," McCallen said.
 
Now, McCallen's health is tip-top. He's thankful his disease was caught early and his surgery was uneventful. "I'm glad to be here. I'm glad to be here," he added.
 
Dr. Waters is having robotics surgery in December.
 
Remember, if you're over 50 talk to your doctor about scheduling prostate screenings.
 
If you have a family history or if you're African-American, 40 is typically the recommended age for screenings
 
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER

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