The revelation Monday by U.S. Sen. Angus King that he has prostate cancer wasn’t particularly surprising given his age and gender.

With the exception of skin cancer, it’s the most common type of cancer in men, particularly those over the age of 65. King is 71.

An estimated 238,500 men in the United States were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013, and 60 percent of them were over 65, according to the American Cancer Society.

Despite its prevalence, prostate cancer is among the most treatable forms of cancer, particularly if it’s isolated, which appears to be the situation in King’s case.

Dr. Durado Brooks, director of cancer control and intervention at the American Cancer Society and a specialist in prostate and colo-rectal cancer, said that’s because prostate cancer is usually not aggressive and rarely spreads.

If prostate cancer has not spread or metastasized, patients can often treat it with surgery – either removing any tumor or by removing the entire prostate. King’s surgery will be the latter.

Some, however, may choose not to be treated.

Dr. Philip Kantoff, chief of the division of solid tumor oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said treatment is not always needed.

“People who are diagnosed should consider all their options, but there is usually no need to rush,” he said.

King, in a statement Monday announcing his diagnosis and plans for surgery, said the cancer was detected during a blood test during a recent routine exam.

Although he did not specify, that likely means a prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test.

Elevated PSA levels can be a marker of prostate cancer, but that is not always the case. In fact, the tests for men aged 50 and older, once common, are less so today. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control does not recommend PSA tests for men who show no symptoms.

Kantoff said the controversy over PSA tests is valid, but he still thinks they have value.

A rectal exam also can reveal signs of cancer.

If either a PSA test or a rectal exam suggests cancer, a doctor will conduct a biopsy, which is what happened in King’s case.

In early stages, prostate cancer rarely results in symptoms and King said he showed none. In more advanced stages, though, patients might have problems with urination or erectile dysfunction.

Other than age and family history, there are no concrete risk factors associated with prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, although African American men are more likely to be diagnosed.

Doctors often use the five-year survival rate when discussing cancer diagnoses, referring to the percentage of patients who live at least five years after their diagnosis.

The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is more than 95 percent, although the American Cancer Society said some men do die while they have prostate cancer, but not from it.

Although it’s treatable, prostate cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in American men behind lung cancer, largely because of the average age of the patients when they are diagnosed and the high number of those diagnosed with the disease.

In Maine, 1,360 men died from prostate cancer from 2000 to 2012 (the most recent data available from the Maine Center for Disease Control), an average of 105 per year.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or:

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Twitter: @PPHEricRussell