RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found exclusively in men.
Almost one in seven men will develop prostate cancer every single year.
Annually, there are approximately 200,000 cases of prostate cancer diagnosed and 25,000 deaths.
Prostate cancer is the second cause of cancer death among men in the U.S.
1. What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably. The prostate is a gland found only in males. The prostate gland changes with age and becomes larger as men age. Cancer in the prostate gland is very treatable particularly if men are able to diagnose it before the cancer cells spread beyond the prostate gland.
Prostate cancer typically causes no symptoms but advanced cases can result in difficulty with urination or pain in back due to the spread of cancer to the bones.2. What are the risk factors and how can we prevent it?
2. Here are the risk factors for prostate cancer:
- Age (6 of 10 cases occur in men older than 65) Rare before 40
- Race—more common in African American men (and these men are twice as likely to die from it)
- Geography –more common in North American
- Family History—having a father or brother with prostate cancer doubles risk
- Genetics—certain gene mutations are associated with prostate cancer
There are some other risks that you can modify – smoking, obesity and diet high in red meat have been associated with prostate cancer as well but none of these have been proven to be as significant as those above.
3. How is it diagnosed?
Prostate cancer is typically diagnosed after screening with a blood test called a PSA as well as a prostate exam performed by your doctor.
Early detection is associated with an increased survival rate. Most organizations recommend PSA testing between the ages of 40-70 or in those who are at particularly high risk.
PSA screening can be controversial and there is a lot of debate as to who should be screened and when. My best advice is to discuss the test with your doctor.
4. How is it treated?
There are many different types of treatments for prostate cancer including surgery, chemotherapy, and other radiation treatments. Each treatment has pros and cons and most patients will want to spend a lot of time working with their doctor to consider different options.
Survival rates are very good in prostate cancer if it is detected early and treated properly.