The prostate gland is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
In the United States (U.S.), it is the most common cancer in men, but it is also treatable if found in the early stages.
In 2017, the American Cancer Society predicts that there will be around 161,360 new diagnoses of prostate cancer, and that around 26,730 fatalities will occur because of it.
Regular testing is crucial as the cancer needs to be diagnosed before metastasis.
Fast facts on prostate cancer:Here are some key points about the prostate cancer. More detail is in the main article.
- The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system.
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.
- It is treatable if diagnosed early, before it spreads.
- If symptoms appear, they include problems with urination.
- Regular screening Is the best way to detect it in good time.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men.
There are usually no symptoms during the early stages of prostate cancer. However, if symptoms do appear, they usually involve one or more of the following:
- frequent urges to urinate, including at night
- difficulty commencing and maintaining urination
- blood in the urine
- painful urination and, less commonly, ejaculation
- difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection may be difficult
Advanced prostate cancer can involve the following symptoms:
- bone pain, often in the spine, femur, pelvis, or ribs
- bone fractures
If the cancer spreads to the spine and compresses the spinal cord, there may be:
- leg weakness
- urinary incontinence
- fecal incontinence
Treatment is different for early and advanced prostate cancers.
Early stage prostate cancer
If the cancer is small and localized, it is usually managed by one of the following treatments:
Watchful waiting or monitoring: PSA blood levels are regularly checked, but there is no immediate action. The risk of side-effects sometimes outweighs the need for immediate treatment for this slow-developing cancer.
Radical prostatectomy: The prostate is surgically removed. Traditional surgery requires a hospital stay of up to 10 days, with a recovery time of up to 3 months. Robotic keyhole surgery involves a shorter hospitalization and recovery period, but it can be more expensive. Patients should speak to their insurer about coverage.
Brachytherapy: Radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate to deliver targeted radiation treatment.
Conformal radiation therapy: Radiation beams are shaped so that the region where they overlap is as close to the same shape as the organ or region that requires treatment. This minimizes healthy tissue exposure to radiation.
Intensity modulated radiation therapy: Beams with variable intensity are used. This is an advanced form of conformal radiation therapy.
In the early stages, patients may receive radiation therapy combined with hormone therapy for 4 to 6 months.
Treatment recommendations depend on individual cases. The patient should discuss all available options with their urologist or oncologist.