Prostate cancer, also known as carcinoma of the prostate, is the development of cancer in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, some grow relatively fast. The cancer cells may spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. It may initially cause no symptoms. In later stages it can cause difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, or pain in the pelvis, back or when urinating.
The presence of non-skin cancers in America has brought a certain amount of awareness to its citizens, but there is a need for more awareness where Prostate Cancer is concerned. Among American men, Prostate Cancer is the most common form of non-skin cancer. Nearly one in six American men will find themselves facing a diagnosis of Prostate Cancer at some point, which makes men thirty-five percent more likely to face a diagnosis of Prostate Cancer than women will be to face a diagnosis of Breast Cancer.
Detection, Diagnosis and Staging of Prostate Cancer
Nearly ninety-percent over prostate cancer cases are detected while the tumor is still confined within the prostate itself, or within its immediate environment. The good news is that almost one-hundred percent of all men who are diagnosed at this stage of prostate cancer can be cured of this disease after receiving treatment. Unfortunately, men who are in this very early stage of prostate cancer do not exhibit signs or symptoms of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is usually detected through a blood test called the PSA or, 'Prostate-Specific Antigen,' test, or through a digital rectal exam (DRE).
In order to make a diagnosis of prostate cancer, a biopsy must be done of the prostate itself. The cells taken from the biopsy are then examined, and additional imaging tests are done that help doctors to make a diagnosis. The testing results also help the doctor to determine the stage the prostate cancer is at.
Treating Prostate Cancer
When Prostate Cancer is in the early stage, it is many times treated with active surveillance, or possibly surgery, and perhaps radiation treatment. While pursuing active surveillance doctors monitor the cancer closely through regular PSA blood testing and additional examinations until making a decision to treat the prostate cancer with surgery or radiation treatment. If a prostatectomy is performed, the prostate itself and the tissue surrounding it are removed surgically. The doctor may also choose to pursue radiation therapy. Should the doctor choose to pursue radiation therapy they will direct radiation at prostate cancer cells. This is done using high-intensity radiation beams, or with radiation-emitting pellets that are implanted.
Treatment of Advanced Prostate Cancer
Testosterone in men is known to promote the growth of Prostate Cancer, and for men who have advanced Prostate Cancer, hormone therapy to lower the levels of testosterone is a typical form of treatment. Chemotherapy is another form of treatment used for men with advanced Prostate Cancer. Chemotherapy helps to distribute cancer-destroying medicines throughout the body. There are also specialized therapies doctors use to target Prostate Cancer that has affected bones.
Prostate Cancer Research and the Future
The Prostate Cancer Foundation, government agencies, and biopharmaceutical companies continue to invest in research into Prostate Cancer. Due to their efforts new treatments and therapies also continue to be studied in research laboratories and through clinical trials throughout the nation.
The color of the prostate cancer awareness ribbon is light, or sky blue, and September is proclaimed as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. Sometimes, however, prostate cancer does cause symptoms, often similar to those of diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia. These include:
The American Cancer Society's estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2015 are:
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