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National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

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Although its mortality rate has steadily fallen in the last decade, prostate cancer is still the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the United States.

This year alone, nearly 218,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 32,000 men will die from this disease. Black men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at a rate 60% higher, and die from the disease at a rate 150% higher than all other men. This is the largest racial disparity for any type of cancer and its impact is staggering.

National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month gives us the opportunity to get free prostate screenings and renew our commitment to fight this disease by finding better ways to prevent, detect, and treat it.

The exact causes of prostate cancer are not known, but awareness can help men make more informed choices about their health.

Researchers have identified several factors that may increase a man's risk of developing prostate cancer, including age, race, and family history.

According to the National Cancer Institute, avoiding smoking, losing weight, maintaining a healthy diet, and exercising may all help prevent certain cancers. We must ensure that more men are informed about all aspects of this disease, including early detection and possible treatment. I encourage men to talk with their doctors about risk factors, prevention, and preventative screenings. And I invite all Americans to visit Cancer.gov for more information and resources about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of prostate and other cancers.

Until we find a cure for this disease, will continue promoting awareness of this illness and supporting prostate cancer research and treatment, including research to help determine why prostate cancer affects some racial and ethnic groups more than others. The National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Defense all play vital roles in reducing the burden of prostate cancer through critical investments in research. The health care reforms included in the landmark Affordable Care Act also address specific needs of individuals fighting cancer, including removing annual and lifetime caps on insurance coverage, prohibiting insurance companies from dropping coverage after an individual gets sick, and guaranteeing insurance coverage for individuals participating in clinical trials, the cornerstone of cancer research.

As we observe National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we stand by the fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons battling prostate cancer, as well as their families and the health care providers, researchers, and advocates who are working to combat this disease and save lives.

By joining together to raise awareness of prostate cancer and supporting research, we can continue to make progress against this devastating disease.

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