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CHEYENNE — The rate of Wyoming men being diagnosed with prostate cancer and dying from it is on the rise, the state Department of Health said Tuesday.

From 1998 to 2001, prostate cancer rates increased from 111 cases per 100,000 men to 184 cases per 100,000 men, while fatality rates rose from just over 21 deaths per 100,000 men to 37.5, State Health Officer Dr. Brent Sherard said.

Both rates were still below national averages, but Sherard urged at-risk residents to be tested for the disease.

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"I cannot overemphasize the importance for men to have yearly prostate exams after the age of 50," he said. "If there is a strong family history of prostate cancer, men should check with their provider to determine the frequency and type of screening that should be performed."

Men over 55 years of age who eat a diet high in fat and have a family history of prostate cancer are at increased risk for the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Two tests are offered — a digital rectal exam and a blood test, Sherard said.

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