September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The American Cancer Society projects that this year alone, some 240,000 men in America will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Nearly 33,000 of those men will not see another birthday.
Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants that number to decrease significantly, and to do that, she believes in educating the community about the importance of prostate cancer screenings. A breast cancer survivor herself, the congresswoman spoke at the Mount Sinai Comprehensive Center on Monday, September 12th to encourage women to tell the men they love the facts.
“Every five minutes in this country, two men are diagnosed with prostate cancer,” she said. “One of every six men is at risk of getting prostate cancer in their lifetime.” Wasserman Schultz cited a recent survey that found that 74 percent of women go to a doctor for routine care, compared to only 57 percent of men.
Wasserman Schultz was joined by Dr. Leonard Toonkel, Mount Sinai’s chairman of Radiation Oncology and Dr. Stephen Zaron, a retired cardiologist and prostate cancer survivor. Also present to discuss the latest treatments and screenings available for prostate cancer were Dr. Alan Nieder, Dr. Akshay Bhandari and Dr. Janice Santos, assistant professors of urology in the Mount Sinai Columbia University Division of Urology. It was a yearly PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test and digital rectal exam that helped Dr. Stephen Zaron get an early diagnosis.
“About seven years ago, the PSA took an unusual jump and as a result I had a biopsy. Unfortunately, I had prostate cancer, which is not uncommon,” said Zaron. “The treatment has come a long way My PSA levels are now normal but I will continue to get my prostate screening annually.”
At the Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center, innovative treatments that have become available in the last decade such as robotic surgery and immunotherapies are being widely utilized. Dr. Toonkel described how radiation has allowed doctors to become much more targeted which helps protect any tissue surrounding the prostate.
“There have been advances in the way we can focus radiation beams so that only the prostate cancer is destroyed by the radiation beam without any damage to surrounding tissues.
Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz has been a strong advocate for educating our families, friends and neighbors about the importance of getting regular medical checkups and screenings when necessary for any type of cancer.
For more information on prostate cancer treatments or how you can get a PSA screening, contact the Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center at 305-674- 9100.