Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States.
The American Cancer Society estimates that one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. About one in 41 diagnoses will die.
Prostate cancer is a serious disease that mostly affects men, but it is one that can be cured especially if spotted immediately.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
Cancer is a disease when abnormal cells divide uncontrollably. Some cancer can eventually spread to other parts of the body.
Prostate cancer, as the name suggests, grows in the man's prostate or the small gland in the pelvis located between the penis and the bladder.
Those who are most at risk of developing this type of cancer are men aged 55 and older. It is considered rare for men below the age of 40 to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
African-American men are also most at risk of developing prostate cancer.
In 2018, about 164,690 people are expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 29,430 people will die from it.
Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
Unfortunately, because the cancer develops very slowly, symptoms do not appear unless the prostate has grown enough to obstruct the tube that carried urine from the bladder to the urethra. When this happens, a person with prostate cancer will experience difficulties urinating.
Patients report difficulties starting urination, have a weak or interrupted stream of urine, feel like their bladder has not completely emptied after going to the bathroom, pain and burning sensation from peeing.
People who might have prostate cancer might also notice painful ejaculation and blood in their urine or semen. Other signs of cancer include unexplained weight loss, bone and back pain, and loss of appetite.
These symptoms might also be caused by problems in the prostate that are not related to cancer.
How Prostate Cancer Is Diagnosed
Patients who exhibit symptoms of prostate cancer will be asked for a urine and blood sample to check for infection and prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The doctor will also try to examine the prostate directly via digital rectal examination or by inserting a gloved finger to the rectum.
Based on the PSA level in the patient's blood and prostate examination, as well as other factors including age, family history, and ethnicity, the doctor might ask for an MRI scan of the prostate. If the scan found any issues, the patient will further be asked for a biopsy.
If prostate cancer is diagnosed, the doctor might ask the patient to be screened to make sure that the disease has not spread into other parts of the body.
Prostate Cancer Treatment
Possible treatment for prostate cancer includes radical prostatectomy surgery and radiotherapy. While it is a serious disease, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it.
About 99 percent of patients diagnosed with all stages of prostate cancer has a five-year relative survival rate or longer after treatment.