There are several treatment options, but new research shows there may be a way to prevent the disease altogether.Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among men in the United States -- affecting nearly 200,000 men every year.
At 70 years old, Speed Klinzing has outlived all his family members. "My mom died at 56. My dad at 57. My oldest brother at 49. My next oldest brother at 58, and my next one at 67," he tells researchers. Four of them died of cancer. To avoid that same fate, Klinzing is being proactive. He says, "I figured if something should happen, that the man upstairs says it's time to have cancer, then I want to be some place where I can catch it early."
Doctors hope that the drug -- finasteride -- will change that. In smaller doses, it's commonly known as Propecia for baldness. It works by stopping testosterone's conversion to DHT -- a more active form of the hormone. It is known that prostate cancer is a hormone-dependent cancer. DHT is more active and more potent in prostate cancer development.
A study of more than 20,000 men showed finasteride decreased prostate cancer risk by 25 percent.
Klinzing took the drug for seven years, and so far, so good. "Seventy is not old, and as long as you stay healthy and keep active, that's the whole key." He's hoping that will keep him one step ahead of cancer.
Researchers say no more than 3 percent of the men in the study had side effects, including mild sexual dysfunction. However, they say when the drug was stopped, sexual function was returned to normal.