Can prostate cancer be completely cured?
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. The average age of diagnosis is 66 year olds, although it may affect younger men as well. By age 80, more than half of all men have some cancerous growth in their prostate.
Due to routine screening of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in the United States, nearly 90% of prostate cancers get detected in early stages. In most cases, the cancer is confined only to the prostate and does not spread to other organs. With the widespread use of screening tests in the United States, early diagnosis of prostate cancer has become much easier.
When found early, there are several treatment options available and prostate cancer has a high chance of getting cured. Moreover, prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer that takes many years to become big enough to cause symptoms. It also takes quite long to spread to other organs. This gives sufficient time for the doctors to treat it.
Oncologists recommend patients to not rush and take some time to understand the various treatment options available after consulting with more than one doctor. Patients can discuss various modes of treatment with the doctor and select the most appropriate option for their prostate cancer.
The 5-year survival rate for most men with local or regional prostate cancer is nearly 100%. There are more than three million survivors of prostate cancer in the United States today.
Interestingly, most men with prostate cancer die of some other illnesses and not prostate cancer.
What is the most effective treatment for prostate cancer?
The choice of treatment for prostate cancer depends on many factors such as the patient’s prostate cancer risk as calculated from prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, Gleason score, and tumor staging. Patients can discuss the significance of these factors in the choice of treatment with their doctor.
The standard effective treatment choices for men with early-stage prostate cancer are as follows
- Active surveillance: Monitoring the progression/status of the low-risk or early-stage cancer with regular testing and not treating it right away.
- Prostatectomy: Surgical removal of the prostate.
- Radiation therapy: Use of high-energy waves to destroy cancer cells.
Radiation therapy is one of the most effective treatments for many men with early-stage prostate cancer. It is also the best prostate cancer therapy for older men or those with other co-existing diseases. It can be delivered to the patient in any of the two ways
- External beam radiation: Sending/focusing high-energy waves from an external machine into the tumor.
- Brachytherapy: Placing a radioactive dye in the tumor through an implant or hollow tubes.
For metastatic prostate cancer, androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is usually the choice of treatment. ADT is also the only option in patients with prostate cancer who are unfit or unwilling to undergo surgery or/and radiation therapy.
What happens if prostate cancer is left untreated?
Treatment may not be initiated straightaway after the diagnosis of early-stage cancer. Instead, an observational approach known as active surveillance is adopted. This means that the doctors monitor the status of the prostate cancer with physical examinations and by conducting regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests every three months. Because prostate cancer is a slow-growing tumor, it can be observed untreated for some time. This approach is usually adopted in patients with some low-risk cancers and symptomless cancers. Patients can utilize this time to learn about the available treatment options along with their risks and benefits. This helps them decide the most appropriate treatment in consultation with their doctor.
Advanced-stage prostate cancers cannot be left untreated because they become life-threatening within a very short time.
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Early-Stage Prostate Cancer Treatment
If prostate cancer is detected early and appears to be slow-growing, invasive procedures, chemotherapy, radiation and other approaches can sometimes do more harm than good. Many prostate cancer treatments come with side effects, like incontinence or impotence, so it’s in the patient’s interest to put off invasive treatments as long as is medically safe. Active surveillance is where doctors "watch and wait" for changes that could prompt medical intervention.
How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
Prostate cancer is largely a disease of men over 40, so it’s around this age doctors recommend the first prostate screening. The first exam is a blood test to determine if there are abnormal prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in your blood – PSA is produced by the prostate. If the PSA is high, your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam, during which the doctor feels your prostate from inside your rectum with a gloved finger. Other diagnostic tests include an endoscopic biopsy of tumor tissue for analysis in a lab.
Prostate CancerProstate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer. Risk factors include age, family history, ethnicity, and diet. Prostate cancer is diagnosed by digital rectal exam, prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, and prostate biopsy. Symptoms may include frequent need to urinate, incontinence, pain, blood in the urine, fatigue, and more. Prognosis and treatment depend on cancer staging. Watchful waiting, surgery, radiation, cryotherapy, and other management strategies are available. Research and clinical trials strive to find new and better treatments for prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer QuizIs prostate cancer the most common cancer in men? Take this quiz to find out and learn the causes, symptoms and treatments of this disease.
Prostate Cancer Facts
Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer and cancer death in males; in some men, identifying it early may prevent or delay metastasis and death from prostate cancer. The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that is a part of the male reproductive system that wraps around the male urethra at it exits the bladder. Prostate cancer is common in men over 50 years of age, with the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with aging.
Prostate Cancer SlidesProstate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Learn the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, along with causes and treatments. Know the stages, survival rates and lower your risk of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer (Prostatic Cancer) Symptoms and Causes
Difficulty with urination – frequency, weak stream, trouble getting started, etc. – is usually the first sign of prostate cancer. But these and other early symptoms of prostatic cancer can also come from benign prostate conditions, so diagnostic testing is important, including PSA tests and digital rectal exam.
Prostate Cancer Treatment: Radical Prostatectomy Surgery
Radical prostatectomy, or surgical removal of the entire prostate gland, isn’t typically the first choice in prostate cancer treatment. Sometimes a radical approach is necessary to keep the cancer from metastasizing, however. Some cases are too severe or diagnosed too late for drugs or radiation to have much effect. In these cases, treatment teams may opt for a radical prostatectomy, despite potential side effects like impotence and incontinence.
Prostate Cancer ScreeningProstate cancer screening may be able to detect cancer before a person has developed any symptoms. Prostate cancer is the most common nonskin cancer among American men. Tests commonly used to screen for prostate cancer include a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA test).
Prostate Cancer Staging and Prognosis
The prognosis for prostate cancer, as with any cancer, depends on how advanced the cancer has become, according to established stage designations. The patient's PSA score at diagnosis, as well as their Gleason score (the grading system used to determine the aggressiveness of prostate cancer) determines the prognosis and final stage designation. Prostate cancer has a high survival rate in general, but your chances depend on the stage of the cancer.
What Are the 5 Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer?Prostate cancer rarely produces symptoms in the early stage; however, few signs can help in detecting prostate cancer.
What Foods Kill Prostate Cancer?Prostate cancer refers to the uncontrolled growth of cells in the prostate gland. There is no particular food or recipe that can directly kill prostate cancer cells. Some foods that may be helpful in prostate cancer recovery and relapse prevention include foods containing lycopene, beans, green tea, cruciferous vegetables and fruit like cranberries, strawberries, blueberries and pomegranates.