What older guys need to know about prostate cancer

OK, boomer buddies, it’s time to bend over and spread ’em. If you’re 50 or older and of the male persuasion, you need to get checked for prostate cancer at least annually. Your doctor’s happy to oblige. Why? Because you have a 17 percent chance of getting the disease and a 3 percent chance of dying from it. If you catch it early, though, you have a 99 percent chance of surviving. Here are some stats:

• Prostate cancer is the second greatest cause of cancer-related death for men, after lung cancer.

One in six men will get prostate cancer in his lifetime.

• Prostate cancer takes a life every 18 minutes in America. An estimated 27,050 American men will die from prostate cancer in 2007.

• In cases where the cancer is found while it is still local or regional, nearly 100 percent of men are still alive in five years.

• In cases where the disease has spread to distant parts of the body, only 34 percent survive five years.

• The United States invests more than $160,000 to find a cure for each life lost to AIDS, about $21,800 for each life lost to breast cancer, and about $16,700 for each life lost to prostate cancer.

• Overall, the total cost of treating prostate cancer in the U.S. is more than $5 billion annually. Since most men who get it are 65 or older, most of the cost is paid by Medicare.

Source: National Prostate Cancer Coalition (www.fightprostatecancer.org)