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ATLANTA -- Five years after enduring surgery to remove a cancerous prostate, 11Alive's Jerry Carnes is spending Prostate Cancer Awareness month looking at advancements in fighting the disease.

The American Cancer Society estimates there have been 7,930 new cases of prostate cancer in Georgia so far this year, with 790 cases resulting in death.

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Carnes was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 at the age of 49.

Two years prior to that, Todd Wilson was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the same cancer. He was 36.

"My urologist couldn't believe it, she said I've never seen anybody your age with this," said Wilson.

Todd Wilson and others are destroying the myths about prostate cancer, and at the same time forcing more men to pay attention to the risks of the disease.

A simple blood test helped uncover the cancer in Carnes' prostate while it was still at an early stage.

Others credit early detection with saving their lives.

"I would be a history lesson as I refer to it," said prostate cancer survivor John Terry. "I was blessed to have a yearly physical, and had a wife that said go do it."

Resources:
Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition
Men's Health and Wellness Center
Zero: The End of Prostate Cancer

At one time, Robert Allen was one of the stubborn ones. Despite signs that he might have prostate cancer, he initially resisted going back to the doctor.

"My technique of sticking my head in the sand was not viable," said Allen "It's not conducive to a long life."

Advancements over the past five years have been particularly encouraging for men with cancer that has advanced beyond the prostate. An FDA approved immune therapy called Provengetrains the body's white blood cells to attack prostate cancer cells.

Joe Blumberg is a patient.

"Sort of the image I carry in my mind is running around in my body are these little ninja warriors that are attacking the cancer cells," said Blumberg.

There have also been advancements in hormone therapy that helps starve prostate cancer cells.

"We're starting to use these new technologies and new treatments and combining them with one another to hopefully achieve even better outcomes," said Dr. Scott Miller of Georgia Urology.

On a recent Monday afternoon, dozens of prostate cancer survivors gather for a golf tournament sponsored by The Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition. The purpose was to raise money and awareness.

"There are more people getting involved because they know people who've experienced it, or they've experienced it themselves," said State Rep. Virgil Fludd, also a prostate cancer survivor.

11Alive is devoting our Help Desk to answering your questions tonight, September 9th from 6:00-7:30. During that time, you can call our panel of experts at (404) 855-7633. You can also tweet Jerry Carnes@JCarnes11Alivewith your questions and commentsand join us on 11Alive.com for a live chat.

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