Radio personality Don Imus announced Monday that he is suffering from stage II prostate cancer.
He is not alone.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Of the estimated 234,000 newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer made each year, 20,000 will die.
But the good news about prostate cancer – also good news for Imus — is that when you look at the 10-year survival rate, it’s very good, especially if it is diagnosed in the early stages.
One of the most common risk factors is age. Prostate cancer is most often found after the age of 50 and becomes progressively more common as men get older. Imus is 68.
Other risk factors include: obesity, chronic inflammation or infection of the prostate, family history and environmental factors.
Prostate cancer in early stages is usually asymptomatic, but as the cancer advances, men may experience problems urinating, lower back pain, and problems with ejaculation.
The staging of prostate cancer is predicated on a couple of things — one of them being the levels of prostate-specific antigen or PSA in the blood. If your PSA is 10 or higher, for example, you have a 50 percent chance of developing prostate cancer. Imaging techniques and biopsies are also used to determine the stage of cancer.
A stage I tumor can’t be felt or seen, but, with a stage II tumor, a small nodule can be felt in the prostate and may have spread into the lymph nodes. Later stages, such as III and IV are more metastatic, meaning that they have spread into other areas of the body.
Stage I and stage II prostate cancer are treated by different means including a radical prostatectomy, surgical removal of prostate, and radiation therapy. Removal of the lymph nodes may also be needed.
Remember — early detection is key, and the survival rate for men with stage I and stage II tumors is about 87 percent.
Dr. Manny Alvarez is the managing editor of health news at FOXNews.com, and is a regular medical contributor on the FOX News Channel. He is chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.