SAN ANTONIO — September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. More than 30,000 American men die from prostate cancer every year, why is why catching it early is key.

"Most prostate cancers are slowly growing. However, some of them can be rapidly growing and can spread, and that's why you need to catch them early," said Dr. Ahmed Mansour, an assistant professor at UT Health San Antonio, who sees patients within the University Health System. 

He says if you do catch it early, the chance of survival is quite high.

"Most men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer but only a few of them but have this kind of rapidly growing cancer that can lead to death," Mansour said. 

A test called the PSA test, or prostate-specific antigen test, is primarily used to screen for prostate cancer. The test measures the amount of the PSA protein in your blood that is produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissues in the prostate. 

"PSA, after its adoption for screening, has resulted in the decrease in the deaths from prostate cancer in the United States by about 50%," Mansour said.

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Some of the risk factors for prostate cancer include men who are African American, are the age of 50, smoke, are overweight with a sedentary lifestyle, or who have a family history of the disease. 

"Patients who have a first degree, a brother or a father who had prostate cancer—these are patients who are recommended to start screening at an earlier age, maybe around the age of 40." 

That is, instead of the current recommended age of 55. 

"Screening should be tailored according to the patient and the whole clinical scenario," Mansour said. 

So wear that gown and get screened, so if you have prostate cancer you can catch it early, before it catches you.

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