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Blue ribbon for prostate cancer awareness month

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of male cancer deaths in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth strives to minimize the devastating effects of prostate cancer by educating residents about prevention, early detection, and screening services. In an effort to spread the word about this disease and the ways to help prevent it, Massachusetts recognizes September as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Massachusetts Cancer Prevention Plan

Through funding from the National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (NCCCP), the Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Network and its partners created the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Plan for 2012-2016. This strategic plan aims to reduce cancer in Massachusetts by emphasizing the following topics:

  • Prevention – Create and sustain environments that support cancer prevention and control.  Promote behaviors, activities, and policies that reduce the risk of cancer among residents.
  • Early Detection and Screening – Educate residents about the benefits of early detection and screening for specific cancers so they might make more informed health decisions.

The primary objective of Massachusetts’s prostate cancer prevention plan is to increase the number of men age 50 and older who have discussed the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening with their health care providers. For men with higher risk, such as men of African descent or with a family history of prostate cancer, the discussion should start at age 45.

Shared Decision Making for Prostate Cancer Screening

Shared decision making is the process of discussing the risks and benefits of a particular health practice with your health care provider and making an informed choice together.

The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test is a common way that doctors screen for prostate cancer. While this test can help some men, new research shows the test can lead to other health risks without clear benefits. That’s why it is important for men to discuss the specific risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening with their doctor so they can decide if getting a PSA test is the right choice for them.

For Additional Information about Prostate Cancer

Reach out to the following organizations for more information about prostate cancer, prevention, and how to get involved in the fight against cancer:

  • National Cancer Institute: The principle agency for cancer research and training, NCI answers questions from the public, cancer patients, and their families regarding prostate cancer staging tests and treatment. Call (800) 4-CANCER from 8 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention – This national public health institute provides information on prostate cancer such as research and statistics.
  • American Cancer Society – This voluntary health organization is dedicated to eliminating cancer nationwide. They provide information, education, services, and advocacy on prostate cancer for newly diagnosed individuals, survivors, caregivers, researchers, and providers.
  • Massachusetts Prostate Cancer Coalition – This statewide non-profit organization is devoted to providing educational information on prostate cancer for newly diagnosed individuals, survivors, men-at-risk, and their families.
  • Massachusetts Health Quality Partners – A coalition of doctors, hospitals, health plans, advocates, researchers, and government agencies; MHQP provides reliable information to help physicians improve the quality of care they provide patients and helps people take an active role in making informed decisions about their health care.

By learning about healthy prevention habits and the importance of shared decision making, we can work together to reduce the number of Massachusetts residents affected by prostate cancer.

Do you want to be connected and in the know of the latest cancer news? If so, join the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Network (MCCPCN).

Have you taken part in Prostate Cancer Awareness Month? Share below or tweet us @MassGov.

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