MIAMI (WTVJ/NBC) - Although September marks Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, recent statistics show that men are less likely to go to the doctor for routine care than women.
The survey from the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that only 57 percent of men got routine care, even though more new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year than breast cancer. Approximately 74 percent of women will get routine care.
Breast cancer survivor and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz spoke to women at Miami's Mount Sinai Medical Center on Monday to encourage them to spread awareness of the issue.
"Every five minutes in this country, two men are diagnosed with prostate cancer," she said. "One of every six men is at risk of getting prostate cancer in their lifetime."
It was a yearly PSA blood test, used to check specifically for prostate cancer, and a digital rectal exam that helped Dr. Stephen Zaron get an early diagnosis.
"About seven years ago the PSA took an unusual jump, and as a result I had a biopsy," he said.
Treatments have drastically improved in the last decade, with robotic surgery and new immunotherapy.
"There's been advances in the way we can focus radiation beams so that only the prostate is destroyed by the radiation beam without any damage to surrounding tissues," said Dr. Leonard Toonkel, a doctor at Mount Sinai's Comprehensive Cancer Center.
As a breast cancer survivor, Wasserman Schultz would like to see more public awareness for prostate cancer.
"October 15 here in Miami, we'll probably see 18,000 people at the Komen walk, walking to fight breast cancer," said Wasserman Schultz. "How many times have we seen thousands, hundreds or dozens walking to fight prostate cancer? We don't."
She pointed out that through the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies and Medicare cover the cost of prostate screenings with no co-pays for patients.
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