Prostate cancer is a disease that affects the prostate gland and can be life-threatening for some men. The prostate gland is located below the bladder and around the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder out of your body. The prostate’s function is to help create semen, which contains sperm.
How many men in the US are affected with prostate cancer?
In 2016, an estimated 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with this type of cancer during his lifetime. In 2016, there were almost 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer in the U.S., making it one of the most common cancers in men. If detected early enough and treated effectively, most men who get prostate cancer survive the disease.
What causes prostate cancer?
The exact cause of it remains unknown; however scientists have identified several risk factors that influence its development including:
Age: It most commonly affects men aged 65 years or older; however it can occur at any age
Race: African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer compared to other races such as Asian Americans or Caucasians; yet they tend to have less aggressive forms of this disease when compared with white males who tend
How to determine if you have a prostate cancer?
If you are at a high risk of this type of cancer, it is important to see your doctor regularly and you would want to make an appointment with a urologist for get screened for it.
There are a number of ways to determine whether or not you have the cancer in the prostate.
A physical examination, including a digital rectal examination, is often the first step in diagnosing the condition. The doctor will use his or her fingers to check for the presence of any abnormalities in the prostate gland. During a digital rectal exam, the doctor inserts his or her finger into your rectum and feels around for any abnormalities.
The PSA test measures the level of a protein called prostate-specific antigen in your blood. Prostate-specific antigen is produced by cells in the prostate gland, which sits below the bladder and surrounds the urethra. This protein can be released into the bloodstream when there are abnormalities present within these cells. When this happens, it can lead to cancerous growths known as tumors forming inside the gland itself (which is how most cases of prostate cancer develop).
When you have an elevated PSA level, it could mean that you have cancer or that something else is wrong with your prostate. The test isn’t perfect, however—it can also sometimes show false positives and false negatives, which means that some men will get unnecessary biopsies and others will not receive treatment they need.
If your prostate screening detects an abnormality, your doctor will likely recommend further testing to determine whether or not you have prostate cancer.
This testing may include a biopsy, which is a procedure that removes tissue from the prostate for examination under a microscope. The tissue sample can be used to determine whether cancer cells are present, as well as how aggressive the cancer is and what treatment options are best for you.
You may also have an imaging test called transrectal ultrasound (TRUS). This test uses sound waves and images to produce pictures of the prostate gland. Doctors use these pictures to help them evaluate the size and shape of your prostate gland and to detect any abnormalities, such as tumors or cysts.
An MRI scan can be used to look for cancer in the prostate. It may be done if your doctor thinks you might have cancer in the prostate based on your symptoms or a previous biopsy (removal of tissue for testing). An MRI also may be done if you need surgery or treatment for other conditions that affect the prostate gland, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), urine flow problems, or urinary tract infections.
Treatment for prostate cancer is a very personal decision. A doctor will work with you to determine what’s best for your situation, but there are a few common options:
Prostatectomy: This is the most common treatment for prostate cancer and involves surgically removing the entire prostate gland. It can be done through an open incision or laparoscopic surgery.
Brachytherapy or Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can be given in many different ways—from external beams aimed at the tumor site on the outside of your body to internal radiation therapy delivered directly into your prostate gland through a catheter inserted through an artery in your leg or groin area.
Cryotherapy: Also known as cold therapy, this option uses extreme cold to destroy cancerous tissue in the body.
Hormone Therapy: This type of treatment uses medication to slow down or stop production of testosterone, which is needed by prostate cancer cells to grow and spread.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs that kill cancer cells inside the body. It can be used alone or combined with radiation therapy or hormone therapy.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer, book an appointment with the top urologist in Phoenix, AZ. Dr. Byrne of Desert Sky Urology is a board certified urologist who specializes in prostate cancer treatment in Phoenix, Chandler and Gilbert, AZ and other urinary tract issues.