September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. According the American Cancer Society, more than 165,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and there are over 2.9 million men in the United States who have been previously diagnosed with prostate cancer that are alive today. That’s enough men to fill Yankee Stadium 58 times!

The detection of prostate cancer has improved over the years thanks to education and screening tests like PSA. However, there is widespread concern that the early detection of prostate cancer has led to the overtreatment of the disease. In fact, approximately 90 percent of all localized prostate cancer (meaning the cancer has not spread) patients receive prostate surgery, radiation, or drug therapy. Unfortunately, this aggressive treatment occurs with the potential of high risk of complications such as impotence or incontinence despite the fact that the vast majority of prostate cancers do not cause death.

Good news, there is another approach thanks to molecular diagnostics and personalized medicine. According to the American Association of Clinical Urologists, men with localized prostate cancer should consider genetic testing to determine the aggressiveness of their disease. Men with non-aggressive cancer may be eligible for active surveillance and spared the burden of over treatment and associated side effects. Conversely, those with high-risk disease may require more aggressive treatment to improve their health outcomes.

The leading genetic test for prostate cancer is called Prolaris® and it is proven to distinguish between aggressive and non-aggressive tumors more accurately than clinical features, enabling physicians to confidently tailor optimal treatment plans for each patient. Importantly, 62 percent of men tested with Prolaris qualified for active surveillance, allowing them to avoid unnecessary treatments.  The Prolaris test is widely accessible. Medicare and private health plans cover the Prolaris test for most men. If you, or someone you know, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, be sure to check out for more information, patient testimonials and to download the Be Ready Pack. In the meantime, be well.

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