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Most men over 40 take steps to try to prevent prostate cancer, Jefferson survey shows

A new survey by researchers at Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center shows that most men over 40 attempt to protect themselves against prostate cancer. The steps they take range from prostate cancer screening to exercising, taking supplements and stopping smoking.

"Surprisingly, when asked, most men say they are doing something to protect themselves," says Ronald E. Myers, Ph.D., professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. "The presumption is, most men don't think about prostate cancer until they have problems, and if they do think about it, they don't do anything. These results indicate that this doesn't seem to be the case."

The researchers also found that men who said they had been screened were more likely to be more highly educated, better off financially, and believed that screening was an effective and convenient tool to prevent prostate cancer.

"This the first time anyone has reported what men do to protect themselves against prostate cancer," says senior author Elisabeth Kunkel, M.D., professor and vice chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Drs. Kunkel, Myers and their co-workers at Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center report their findings in the current issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Prostate cancer screening is controversial. Prostate cancer tends to grow slowly, and debate centers on whether or not early detection and treatment do more harm than good. It is also unclear if so-called preventive methods such as diet, exercise and supplements such as selenium actually help prevent prostate cancer.

The researchers wanted to know what men do if anything to protect themselves from developing prostate cancer. The team surveyed two groups of men by either phone or mail and combined their data. In the study, 441 men were asked if they were takin
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Contact: Steve Benowitz
steven.benowitz@jefferson.edu
215-955-5291
Thomas Jefferson University
2-Feb-2004


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