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Prostate cancer claims Hollywood legend Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper
Dennis Hopper
courtesy of MSN

Dennis Hopper lost his fight with prostate cancer today at the age of 74. Hopper was a legend in Hollywood, both as an actor and a director. Some of his most famous movies include: Easy Rider, Rebel Without A Cause, Hoosiers, and Apocalypse now. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October of 2009.

Every year, more than 180,000 American males are diagnosed with this disease. In 2009 alone, prostate cancer in the United States yielded an estimated 192,280 new cases and over 27,000 deaths. Prostate cancer is the second highest form of cancer found in men, with skin cancer ranking #1. Here are some facts you should know about prostate cancer.

What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is formed in the prostate tissues. The prostate is a gland found in the male reproductive system that is responsible for making and storing semen. Obviously prostate cancer only affects males, with most of the candidates being over the age of 65.

How is it detected?
Prostate cancer can be found through screening tests; the digital rectal exam (DRE) and the blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). These tests are also very beneficial in finding cancer when symptoms are absent. With the increase in PSA tests within the United States, roughly 90% of prostate cancers are being diagnosed in early stages, resulting in a higher survival rate long after the diagnosis and treatment.

What are some of the symptoms?
In more cases than not, prostate cancer really doesn't have symptoms in the beginning. In fact, once symptoms do occur, it's usually because the disease has spread outside of the prostate. Some of these include: trouble urinating, frequent urination at night, pain or burning while urinating, erectile dysfunction, blood present in urine, pain frequently felt in the hips, lower back or upper thigh area. The tricky part is that these symptoms are quite common in non-cancerous situations. The only way to be certain is to get yourself checked out by a physician.

Prostate cancer remains one of the most treatable cancers, with an average of only 1 in 35 dying from it. These statistics are largely due to the early diagnoses being made from screening. So guys, do yourself a favor; take prostate cancer seriously and get yourself screened.

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