May 30th, 2010
11:58 AM ET

Hopper's disease No. 2 cancer killer of men

Actor Dennis Hopper, who starred in such Hollywood classics as "Easy Rider" and "Blue Velvet," died Saturday at his home in Venice, California.  He was 74.  His prostate cancer was diagnosed last October.  According to his wife, Victoria Hopper, he was surrounded by his children when he died.

Hopper is one of the approximately 27,000 men who die every year from prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society It is the second largest cancer killer of men, just behind lung cancer.  In 2009, there were more than 192,000 new diagnoses according to ACS.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the best course of treatment for prostate cancer.  According to a study published last year in The New England Journal of Medicine, prostate screenings don't reduce the number of deaths from illness.  But not all experts agree.  The study caused much controversy in the medical community.  My colleague, Elizabeth Cohen, wrote about the opinions on treatment options in her column, "The Empowered Patient."

Funeral arrangements have not been decided, but Hopper's wish was to be buried in Taos, New Mexico, "his heart home," Victoria Hopper said.  To read more about Hopper's life and career, click here.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.