- What Is It?
- 5 Warning Signs
- Survival Rate
What is prostate cancer?
The prostate is a small organ that lies below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum (part of the large intestine). In men, it is normal for the size of the prostate to increase with age. In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut. The prostate makes a milky fluid, which is a part of semen. This fluid feeds the sperm.
Growth in the prostate can be of two types:
- Benign growths: These are noncancerous growths and rarely a threat to life e.g., benign prostatic hyperplasia.
- Malignant growths: These are cancerous growths that can be life-threatening.
What causes prostate cancer?
The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown. One in three men older than 50 years has some cancer cells in the prostate. Luckily, eight out of 10 tumors are found to be small and harmless after the biopsy. Although the reason for prostate cancer is unknown, there are many risk factors that increase the risk of prostate 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. Five potential warning signs of prostate cancer are:
What are the other symptoms of prostate cancer?
Symptoms of prostate cancer are:
- Weight loss
- Frequent urination particularly at night
- Loss of bladder control
- Weak urine flow
- Dull pain in the lower pelvic area
- Pain in the lower back, hips, or thighs
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Bone pain
- Pain and edema in the legs and feet
- Neurologic deficit (an altered function of a body area)
- Loss of bowel control
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
Screening asymptomatic men help identify early prostate cancer. Screening is recommended in men:
- Who are between 55 and 69 years of age
- Who is African American
- Who have a family history of prostate cancer
Screening methods include:
- Digital rectal examination (DRE) helps to find prostate problems
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA): Increased PSA levels in the blood can sometimes indicate prostate cancer.
- Definite diagnosis is based on the biopsy of the prostate tissue.
- Magnetic resonance imaging studies and imaging tests may be used to assess the distant spread (metastasis).
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How is prostate cancer treated?
The treatment plan for prostate cancer depends on the following factors:
- The stage and grade of cancer
- Age and health
- Risk category
- Patient values and preferences
- Life expectancy
Treatment choices for prostate cancer involve:
- Active surveillance: Monitoring cancer closely by carrying out PSA and DRE examination
- Watchful waiting: Relies mainly on the changing symptoms in men
- Localized therapy
- Drug therapies that spread throughout the body to destroy cancer cells involve:
- Hormonal therapy
What is the survival rate for prostate cancer?
Most of the men diagnosed with prostate cancer will not die from it. Other medical conditions along with prostate cancer can cause death.
Survival rates for men with prostate cancer have increased over the years due to increased screening and treatment options.
- Ninety-nine percent of men with prostate cancer will survive for a minimum of five years after diagnosis.
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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 Treatment: Chemotherapy, Bone-Targeted and Immune Therapy
Doctors may introduce chemotherapy and immune therapy if other measures fail to cure a case of prostate cancer. However, unlike with other forms of cancer, chemotherapy isn’t the first choice for early prostate cancer. Immune therapy uses the body's own immune system to attack the prostate tumor, while bone-targeted therapy aims to preserve bone and prevent metastasis.
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: Radiation, Brachytherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals
Radiation treatment for prostate cancer is a powerful tool at doctors’ disposal. Using radiation vs. surgery or other invasive treatments to kill cancer cells may still cause side effects, but ideally they are less severe. Radiation therapy can be performed via external beam therapy (EBRT) or the placement of radioactive seeds into the prostate (prostate brachytherapy) or using radioactive drugs (radiopharmaceuticals).
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.
Prostate Cancer Treatment: Hormonal Therapy
Prostate cancer is highly sensitive to, and dependent on, the level of the male hormone testosterone, which drives the growth of prostate cancer cells. Testosterone belongs to a family of hormones called androgens, and today front-line hormonal therapy for advanced and metastatic prostate cancer is called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT).