Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer among men in New York City, after skin cancer. It often grows slowly, with no symptoms in the early stages.

As a man ages, it is natural for his prostate to become larger. This may lead to some health problems with urinary and sexual function. These issues can be similar to the symptoms of prostate cancer. Your health care provider can help you understand what your symptoms mean.

Risk Factors

You may be more at risk for prostate cancer if you:

  • Are a Black man. The risk of dying from prostate cancer is more than twice as high for Black men as for White, Latino or Asian men.
  • Are older. Most cases occur in men who are over age 40, and risk is higher in older men.
  • Have a family history of prostate cancer.

Talk to your health care provider about your risks. Be sure to tell them if you have a family history of prostate cancer.

Reduce Your Risk

Researchers are still studying ways to prevent prostate cancer.


Talk with your health care provider about the potential benefits and harms of screening for prostate cancer. The decision to get screened or not is a personal one.

Some prostate cancers grow and spread quickly, while others grow so slowly that they do not cause harm. Side effects of treatment can include incontinence and erectile dysfunction. It is important for you to balance the potential benefits and risks of screening based on your personal and family history, concerns and other medical conditions.

One of the more common ways to screen for prostate cancer is with a blood test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. If your PSA level indicates you may have cancer, next steps could include a repeat PSA test, imaging, a biopsy or other tests.

The American Cancer Society recommends having the conversation about screening by different ages depending on your risk. Discuss starting this screening with your provider at age:

  • 40 if you have more than one close family member who had prostate cancer before age 65
  • 45 if you are Black or have one close family member who had prostate cancer before age 65
  • 50 if you do not have specific risk factors.


If you do not have insurance, you may be eligible to sign up for low- or no-cost coverage. You can also get free in-person assistance signing up for a plan.

Additional Resources

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