Cancer is a disease in which the body’s cells grow out of control. Almost any cell in any body part can become a cancer cell. Cancer that starts in the prostate ( the gland under a man’s bladder that produces seminal fluid) is called prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men, not including skin cancer.
There is no known cause for prostate cancer, but there are certain factors that can increase a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer, including:
- Age: The risk of getting prostate cancer increases with age.
- Ethnicity: African-American men are more likely to get the disease and they are more likely to have more aggressive tumors.
- Family History: Men who have a history of prostate cancer in the family are more likely to get it themselves.
- Smoking: Some studies have shown that the risk of developing cancer of the prostate can double in heavy smokers. Quitting can bring your risk down.
- Lifestyle and Location: Diet and lifestyle may increase the risk of developing the disease. Also, people in North America and Northern Europe have higher incidences of the disease.
The most common symptoms of prostate cancer affect the bladder and the ability to urinate. The symptoms of prostate cancer can sometimes be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to get proper medical attention when experiencing any of the following:
- Weak flow of urine
- Interrupted flow of urine
- Trouble starting urine flow
- Frequent urination
- Painful or burning urination
- Trouble emptying bladder
- Blood in urine or semen
- Persistent pain in back, hips, or pelvis
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
- Extreme fatigue
- Pale skin due to anemia
Prostate cancer screening is available but is not recommended for all men. Speak to your doctor about whether or not you should be screened regularly.
If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, then you should consult your doctor. They will examine you and get your medical history. If needed, the doctor will run tests that may include a biopsy.
A biopsy is the standard way to definitively diagnose prostate cancer. A biopsy is a procedure in which a small piece of tissue is removed from the prostate and examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells. The doctor may use tests like MRI or a transrectal ultrasound to guide them in selecting where in the prostate the sample should be taken.
The treatment prescribed for prostate cancer depends on the cancer’s stage, how high the risk is, your age, your general health, and your own preferences. The different types of treatment all have their own risks and side effects, so those should be discussed with your doctor and weighed when making a decision about treatment. There are a variety of common treatments for cancer in the prostate as well as some new and experimental treatments.
- Watchful waiting/active surveillance
- Radiation Therapy
- Hormone Therapy
- Biologic Therapy
- Bisphosphonate Therapy
- High-Intensity-Focused Ultrasound Therapy
- Photodynamic Therapy
- Proton Beam Radiation Therapy
There are also treatments for pain management, especially in cases where the cancer has metastasized (spread) to other parts of the body like the bones.
It has been found that maintaining general health, and doing things that are good for the heart can also help prevent prostate cancer. There are some drugs (finasteride and dutasteride) that are used to prevent the disease, but there is not definitive proof of whether these drugs actually prevent it or just slow its development. Discuss the risks and benefits of these drugs with your doctor.
Schedule an Appointment
At Alliance Urology Specialists, our goal is to provide the highest level of specialized urology care. We know that dealing with a condition like prostate cancer can be overwhelming and emotional. Our board-certified physicians will be able to help you navigate the condition and provide you with the highest standard of care. To schedule an appointment, call Alliance Urology Specialists in Greensboro at (336) 274-1114.