The impact of prostate cancer in Hawaii

News

Late concert promoter Tom Moffatt was battling prostate cancer.

The news comes a day after we learned University of Hawaii wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji is battling prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second-deadliest cancer in men in the United States.

According to the American Cancer Society, there were more than 600 new cases of prostate cancer in Hawaii this year, and about a hundred deaths.

Paul Mizue, president of the Hawaii Prostate Cancer Coalition, says there’s not a lot of awareness about prostate cancer.

He says generally men do not like to talk about their own health concerns, and it can be embarrassing.

A prostate cancer survivor himself, Mizue says it’s a cancer you don’t see, but affects you internally and mentally.

“It affects the whole family, because any cancer is a disease affecting everyone,” Mizue said. “The most significant part of it is the emotional part of dealing with it, because once you receive the diagnosis, people think it’s a death sentence. It’s not.”

Catching the disease early is key, but difficult.

Dr. Charles Rosser, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, says typically men with prostate cancer don’t show any signs or symptoms.

That’s why, he emphasized, it’s important for men at risk of developing the disease to get screened by a doctor.

Men over the age of 50 and those with a family history of the disease are more at risk of developing prostate cancer.

“Survival rate for prostate cancer depends on again the extent of the cancer, or what we would call the stage,” said Rosser, “so if you catch it very early, the survival rate is very high. Over 90 percent of the patients will be alive with this at 10 years.”

The American Cancer Society says advanced signs are typically problems urinating, blood in the urine, and weakness or numbness anywhere from the hip down.

Prostate cancer generally affects men in their 60s, so Mizue says victims may not know about the resources available to them.Click here for more information.

Meanwhile, researchers at the UH Cancer Center are currently studying ways to treat prostate cancer, including whether extract from the noni fruit can slow down the progression of the disease.

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