Healthy choices in the New Year may help prevent prostate cancer |

Healthy choices in the New Year may help prevent prostate cancer

LORY POUNDERsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY – Colorado has a higher incidence of prostate cancer than the national average, and as the population in Summit County has aged, the numbers are on the rise here, officials said.”It’s the most common cancer diagnosis in men other than skin malignancies,” said Dr. Lawrence Karsh, MD, F.A.C.S., director of research at The Urology Center of Colorado in Denver who also works at a satellite office in Frisco. “It is the second most common cancer death.”In fact, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and one in 34 will die from it, Karsh said. And the risk for it goes up with every decade a man lives.”The key thing is if men live long enough, they’re going to get prostate cancer,” he said.Karsh has been coming to Summit County since 1990 and in recent years he has seen more retirees coming into the county and the age of the population increase. As a result, because age is one of the biggest risk factors, he has seen more incidences of prostate cancer.All over Colorado it is unknown why there is a higher rate. However, some of the speculation is about Vitamin D and the affect the sun may have, Karsh said. Another thing thought to be linked to prostate cancer is a diet of high fats and red meat, he added.There may also be some family links, but not all cases are genetically transmitted, Karsh said.So, some of the advice he offered is for people to exercise, not smoke, cut back on fats and red meat and maintain a healthy weight.Also, early detection is essential, he said. “Cancers are not always a death sentence,” Karsh said. “If you find it in its early stages a lot of cancers are curable and treatable.” Starting at age 50, men should have a yearly rectal exam and prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test, according to the American Cancer Society. If they have a family history of it or are African American, the yearly tests should start at age 40. Karsh additionally recommends that men in their mid to late 30s should have the PSA test – that they can get from their physician – so doctors will have a low point they can use to compare later tests. Knowing what the baseline is, doctors can then look at velocity change to see what kind of concern really exists, Karsh said.Dr. Richard Augspurger, medical director at The Urology Center, said in a press release, “There are often no early symptoms of early stage prostate cancer and screenings are paramount.”Additionally, president of The Urology Center of Colorado, Dr. Stephen Ruyle, said in the release, “The best prevention against prostate cancer is early detection through annual screenings. However, advancements in treatments for the disease have resulted in current long-term cure rates greater than 80 percent, with cure rates upwards of 94 percent for patients detected at the earliest stage.” Some of the newer treatment options include robotic surgery that requires smaller incisions, means less blood loss and a shorter hospital stay, Karsh explained. There have also been advancements in radiation therapy that has less side effects and more localized delivery, he said.And while there is not a cure for advanced stages of prostate cancer, the goal is to turn it into a chronic disease instead of a killer, said Karsh, adding that the center’s research department is doing studies and looking at new drugs.Lory Pounder can be reached at (970) 668-4628, or at

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