Understanding the State of Your Prostate
Have you grown a mustache for No-Shave November in honor of Prostate Cancer Awareness but aren’t really sure what it is?
Are you asking yourself “When is the right time to be screened for prostate cancer?” Well, here are the facts!
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 233,000 men experience prostate cancer each year. That means one in every six men will be faced with this diagnosis in their lifetime. For most men with this diagnosis, the survival rate is high, but the key is early detection.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is a walnut-sized structure that wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages and is the most common cause of death from cancer in men over age 75. Early detection is the key to beating prostate cancer. This form of cancer is very rare in men younger than 40, but the probability of having cancer rises after age 50. This cancer can often be found early by testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a man’s blood or by physician exam. If the results of these tests are abnormal, further testing is needed in order to properly diagnose prostate cancer. Because of PSA testing, most prostate cancers are now found before they cause any symptoms. When prostate cancer is found by these tests, it is most likely at an earlier, more treatable stage. T
he ACS says that early prostate cancer can have zero symptoms. Advanced prostate cancers can cause some symptoms such as:
- Problems passing urine, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night
- Blood in the urine
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer spread to bones
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord
When is the right time to be screened?
The question of screening is a personal one. When to start screening is generally based on individual risk factors. You should discuss these risk factors with your doctor to make screening decisions that are best for you. Factors such as your age, race, nationality, family history, as well as diet should be considered.
How is prostate cancer treated?
Depending on the diagnosis and stage of cancer, the treatment options for men with prostate cancer may include:
- Expectant management (watchful waiting) or active surveillance
- Radiation therapy
- Cryosurgery (cryotherapy)
- Hormone therapy
- Vaccine treatment
- Bone directed treatment
For more information about Prostate cancer visit the American Cancer Society website (ACS).