DEAR ABBY: You suggested that we all give our mothers a mammogram for Mother's Day. May I also suggest that we give our fathers a prostate cancer screening for Father's Day?
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cancer cause of death among American males, the first being lung cancer. A man's chance of getting prostate cancer exceeds a woman's chance of getting breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, a woman's chance of developing invasive breast cancer from birth to death is 12.56 percent, while a man's chance of developing invasive prostate cancer is 15.91 percent. In both diseases, early detection is the key to survival.
Abby, this information must be given to all men and the women who love them. -- MAYNARD BERKOWITZ, MINDEN, NEV.
DEAR MAYNARD: You're right; men should be screened for cancer, too. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), in this year alone 180,400 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. May I add that, in addition to prostate cancer, males should be encouraged also to be checked for breast cancer. Although they may not realize it, they, too, are at risk for breast cancer.
The ACS has designated June as Prostate Cancer Awareness month. So, sons, daughters and wives, in addition to the cologne, neckties and fishing gear you've given for Father's Day, consider a post-Father's Day gift of chipping in on Dad's cancer screenings. It could be the gift of a lifetime.
For more information contact the ACS at (800) 227-2345, or visit the Web site at www.cancer.org. The Web site offers a free program called Man to Man, where specially trained prostate cancer survivors offer support to newly diagnosed patients. It also has an interactive section where people who have questions about prostate cancer can e-mail oncology nurses who provide answers and referrals.