Prostate Cancer

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Prostate cancer facts

  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of deaths from cancer among U.S. men.
  • While the causes of prostate cancer are still unknown, some risk factors for the disease, such as advancing age and a family history of prostate cancer, have been identified.
  • Prostate cancer is often initially suspected because of an abnormal PSA blood test or a hard nodule (lump) felt on the prostate gland during a routine digital (done with a finger) rectal examination.
  • Refinements in the PSA test, including the PSA ratio, age-specific PSA, and PSA velocity or slope have improved the accuracy of the test.
  • If one of the screening tests is abnormal, the diagnosis of prostate cancer should be suspected and a biopsy of the prostate gland is usually done.
  • The diagnosis of prostate cancer is made when cancerous prostatic cells are identified in the biopsy tissue under a microscope.
  • In some men, prostate cancer is life threatening, while in many others, it can exist for many years without causing health problems.
  • The choice of treatment for prostate cancer depends on the size, aggressiveness, and extent or spread of the tumor, as well as on the age, general health, and preference of the patient.
  • The many options for treating prostate cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, hormonal treatment, cryotherapy, chemotherapy,combinations of some of these treatments, and watchful waiting/active surveillance.
  • Research is under way to identify the genes that cause prostate cancer.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2013

Patient Comments

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Prostate Cancer - Symptoms Question: The symptoms of prostate cancer can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?
Prostate Cancer - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your prostate cancer?
Prostate Cancer - Evaluation and Diagnosis Question: How was your prostate cancer diagnosed?
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood tests and  Digital Rectal Exams (DRE) are essential for prostate health.

Surviving Prostate Cancer

One Patient's Story

Benjamin Miller* was shocked to learn he had prostate cancer.

"I had absolutely no family history of prostate cancer," Miller says. "I was very active, had no symptoms, and had an excellent diet."

Miller has since spent a great deal of time over the past five years mentoring men who have been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, and although he generally avoids suggesting one treatment option over another, he spends even more time answering the questions he says that doctors won't answer.