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ny_governor_banner_nyreblog_com_.jpgGovernor Paterson Creates Special Advisory Panel to Promote Prostate Cancer Awareness

Governor David A. Paterson announced the creation of a special Governor's Advisory Panel on Prostate Cancer Awareness. The advisory panel will work to make New Yorkers aware of the risks, screening and treatment options for prostate cancer. September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. 

"Each year in New York State, close to 15,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 1,800 men die from this disease," Governor Paterson said. "Approximately one in every six men will develop prostate cancer sometime during his lifetime. Knowledge is power, and we want New Yorkers to have as much information as possible so they can make informed decisions about their health care. This special advisory panel will help us identify ways to make more New Yorkers aware of this disease and the options for screening and treatment." 

The advisory panel, which will consist of experts, advocates, consumer representatives and others involved in the fight against prostate cancer, will make recommendations to the Governor by December 30, 2010 on how to increase awareness about prostate cancer. The recommendations will focus on actions that will not incur costs to the State or localities.

State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., said: "I commend Governor Paterson for creating this panel to increase awareness about prostate cancer. It is vital that men are informed about the warning signs of prostate cancer and the options available to them in the form of screenings and treatments. As Health Commissioner, I urge all men to speak with their health care providers and learn more about this deadly disease." 

While the cause of prostate cancer is unknown, certain factors may increase a man's chance of getting prostate cancer:

  • Age: As men get older, their chances of getting prostate cancer increase. Prostate cancer is not common in men younger than age 50.
  • Race: Prostate cancer is more common in African American men than in white men. In New York State, African American men are one and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer and almost two times as likely to die from the disease as white men.
  • Family History: A man with a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer has a higher risk of prostate cancer than a man who does not have a close family member with the disease.
  • High Fat Foods: Some studies suggest a diet high in animal fat or meat may increase a man's risk for prostate cancer.

Some men with prostate cancer may have no symptoms while others may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night.
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine.
  • Weak or interrupted urine flow.
  • Painful or burning urination.
  • Difficulty having an erection.
  • Blood in urine or semen.
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.

There are many options for treating prostate cancer. Men should talk with their health care provider to decide whether treatment is necessary and, if so, what treatment options are right for them. For more information about prostate cancer including how to get treatment if you don't have insurance, visit http://www.nyhealth.gov/diseases/cancer/prostate/