The prostate is a small gland that produces seminal fluid for the transportation and nourishment of sperm. Cancer of the prostate is the most commonly found cancer in men.
As seen in many other areas of the body, it’s possible for cancer to develop in the prostate but this usually happens without symptoms. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer that men can suffer from, which is why regular screenings for prostate cancer are essential.
This can be a slowly growing cancer, which means that it may remain in the prostate without spreading for quite some time. However, it’s also possible that you could suffer from a fast-spreading tumor, which is why early detection is essential. The best way to discover that you might be affected by prostate cancer is by learning more about the screening and who may get this type of cancer.
Risk Factors and Causes of Prostate Cancer
A person’s risk of developing prostate cancer will increase as they get older. Men who have a family history of prostate cancer are much more likely to develop prostate cancer. African American men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Lifestyle can also play an important role in the development or prevention of prostate cancer.
Potential Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
In the early stages of prostate cancer, there are likely to be no symptoms. In rare cases of prostate cancer that has spread, some of the symptoms that could occur include bone pain, difficulties with urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, erectile dysfunction, unintended weight loss, and general discomfort in the pelvic area. You should see a doctor if you notice any of these signs and symptoms.
How This Cancer is Diagnosed
Men in their 50s are encouraged to discuss the benefits of regular screening with their primary doctor. Patients may need to have these conversations at age 40 if they are black, have a family history of prostate cancer, or have other risk factors.
If you go to a prostate cancer screening, the two main tests are a digital rectal exam and a blood test. A digital rectal exam involves the doctor inserting a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum in order to examine the prostate and evaluate it for texture, size, and shape, while the blood test is called a prostate-specific antigen or more commonly called a PSA.
In the event that one of these tests identifies an abnormality, additional examinations will be performed possibly including repeating the blood test, a urine test and/or an MRI which may finally lead to the biopsy of the prostate.
Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer
Options for treating prostate cancer depend on many factors, including how fast the cancer may be growing, how aggressive the cancer is, whether or not the cancer has spread, and the patient’s overall health. Treatment options can include surgery to remove the prostate, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted drug therapy, among other options. In select cases surveillance may be the best treatment option. This involves regular PSA testing and a periodic MRI and prostate biopsy. Your doctor will discuss all of these treatment options if and when it may be necessary.