NEW YORK --September is prostate cancer awareness month, a time to encourage men to take control of their health and go to the doctor.
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men, and African-American men suffer in disproportionate numbers.
Now there are new advances and techniques to help.
I visited Mount Sinai Hospital and spoke with one patient who's now doing well after his diagnosis.
Ken Sneider got his prostate cancer diagnosis at age 59, the same illness that took the life of his grandfather.
"At first it was sort of like hard to believe, and then it was like OK, we've got to get going and figure out what the next step is," said Ken.
After more tests and a second opinion, that next step ultimately became surgery, and that's when Ken turned to Dr. Ash Tewari, the chair of the urology department at Mount Sinai.
"I felt like I had a great doctor, I was in good hands. I had a very strong wife that was there for me. I had my faith that got me through it, so I felt like I was ready to go," Ken said.
Today he is cancer-free, back to his normal life of swimming and bicycling. Another example of the progress being made in treating this cancer, which claims nearly 30,000 lives per year in the U.S.
Some of the new advances include NeuroSafe, the testing of healthy tissue around the tumor to ensure all cancer has been removed. Results take just minutes.
Also, active surveillance, simply monitoring the cancer through blood tests without surgery.
There's also robotic surgery, which is Dr. Tewari's specialty. It's been around for about 15 years and it minimizes bleeding, is less invasive and allows for better visual magnification of the cancer.
"Three things combined, prostate cancer surgery becomes easier, so that is the reason why most of the operations are done now with the robot," said Dr. Tewari.
African-American men are particularly vulnerable to the disease, especially if there's a family history of it.
"They do have 1.5 times greater risk of having prostate cancer and twice the mortality of they get it," said Dr. Tewari, who admits the disease can be overtreated and overdiagnosed, but he also stresses the importance of exercise, before and after any treatment..
"When they're walking, they have a lower risk of having a blood clot, lower risk of having pneumonia and feel better, so exercise is an important component part of our program, both before and after surgery," he said.
"Pretty much within three months I was back to doing what I was usually doing, back on my bike cycling, starting to get back in shape with all of that," said Ken.