Prostate Cancer

What is prostate cancer?

Under normal conditions, the prostate gland produces the seminal fluid that makes up part of the semen. The gland is small, walnut-sized and sits below the bladder and in front of the rectum.

When abnormal cells multiply uncontrollably in the prostate and form tumors that can invade normal tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body, the result is known as prostate cancer. It is one most common types of cancer affecting approximately one in three men over the age of 50 years and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the United States and a significant health-care problem due to its high incidence.

What causes prostate cancer?

While itís not exactly clear what causes prostate cancer, there are many contributing factors, which may include:

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • World region
  • Ethnicity being African-American doubles risk
  • Family history
  • Dietary
  • Vitamins

Symptoms?

Prostate cancer often causes no symptoms in its early stages. When signs and symptoms do occur, they typically include:

  • Discomfort and/or pain in the pelvic area
  • Frequent urination
  • Problems with urination such as the inability, pain, burning, weakened urine flow
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Swelling in the legs
  • General pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
  • Persistent bone pain

How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

Your health care expert will assess your condition based on your symptoms, medical history and a physical exam during which your physician will perform a digital rectal examination (DRE) to examine prostate gland, noting any abnormalities in size, contour or consistency. This procedure is generally combined with a prostate specific antigen test (PSA), a blood test to analyze PSA thatís naturally produced by your prostate gland, to increase the likelihood of prostate cancer detection.

If results from the DRE or PSA tests show abnormalities, your physician may recommend additional tests to determine whether you have prostate cancer including an ultrasound or a prostate biopsy to collect a sample or suspicious cells from your prostate.

The Gleason score is the most common scale used to evaluate the grade of prostate cancer. It combines two numbers ranging from 2 (nonaggressive cancer) to 10 (very aggressive cancer).

Once prostate cancer has been diagnosed by a prostate biopsy, your physician works to determine the extent (stage) of the cancer. If your health care provider suspects your cancer may have spread beyond your prostate, the following imaging tests may be recommended:

  • Bone scan
  • Ultrasound
  • CT and/or MRI scan

Upon testing completion, your physician assigns your cancer a stage to serve for best treatment care. The staging ranges from Stage I (nonaggressive cancer thatís confined to a small area of the prostate) to Stage IV (Very aggressive cancer thatís spread and grown to invade nearby organs, such as the bladder, or spread to lymph nodes, bones, lungs or other organs).

Treatments

Depending on a number of different factors including overall health, severity of cancer and potential side effects of the treatment, your health care expert will discuss many care options to help you resume your daily routine, which include:

  • Watchful waiting (i.e. active surveillance) that includes regular follow-up blood tests, rectal exams and possibly biopsies performed to monitor progression of your cancer
  • External radiation
  • Internal radiation (brachytherapy)
  • Hormone therapy such a medications that stop your body from producing testosterone or ones that block testosterone from reaching cancer cells
  • Surgery to remove the testicles (orchiectomy)
  • Surgery to remove the prostate (radical prostatectomy) such as retropubic surgery, perineal surgery, laparoscopic prostatectomy or robotic laparoscopic surgery
  • Cyrosurgery or cryoablation that involves freezing prostate cancer to kill cancer cells
  • High-intensity focused ultrasound treatment that uses powerful sound waves to heat prostate tissue, causing cancer cells to die
  • Chemotherapy

Recovery time after the procedure depends on the procedure chosen and after care recommendations prescribed by your physician. The outlook for patients with cancer of the prostate cancer is typically dependent on how aggressive the cancer cells are found to be and how far the malignancy has penetrated into the wall of the collecting system or beyond. If prostate cancer is caught early on through screening, there are many options for treatment and cure for individuals to enjoy a normal healthy lifestyle for many years to come.

For additional questions or concerns, please contact us at (864) 295-2131.