If you have prostate cancer, or are concerned about getting it, or if you’re looking out for the health of someone you love, this article can help. In most men, it grows very slowly: most men will never know they have the condition. The most common cancer in American men, except for skin cancer, is prostate cancer.
Detected in its early stages, prostate cancer can be effectively treated and cured. The prostate gland is located directly beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. The main job of the prostate gland is to make seminal fluid, the milky substance that transports sperm.
One of the most common symptoms is the inability to urinate at all. There are several symptoms to be aware of. Because prostate cancer symptoms can mimic other diseases or disorders, men who experience any of these symptoms should undergo a thorough work-up to determine the underlying cause.
There are other symptoms not mentioned here. If cancer is caught at its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms. Having one or more cancer symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer.
A PSA test with a high level can also be from a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. A prostate biopsy usually confirms the diagnosis. Your doctor may use either one or two of the most common tests for prostate cancer detection.
There is a newer test called AMACR that is more sensitive than the PSA test for determining the presence of prostate cancer. A urinalysis may indicate if there is blood in the urine. A chest x-ray may be done to see if there’s a spread of cancer.
Recent improvements in surgical procedures have made complications occur less often. Hormone manipulation is mainly used as a treatment to relieve symptoms in men whose cancer has spread. What you can do now is begin to understand what exactly your treatment options are and where you’re going to begin.
Surgery, called a radical prostatectomy, removes the entire prostate gland and some of the surrounding tissues. Besides hormonal drugs, hormone manipulation may also be done by surgically removing the testes. Surgery is usually only recommended after thorough evaluation and discussion of all available treatment options.
Impotence is a potential complication after the prostatectomy or after radiation therapy. Chemotherapy medications are often used to treat prostate cancers that are resistant to hormonal treatments. Radiation therapy is used primarily to treat prostate cancers classified as stages A, B, or C.
Medicines can be used to adjust the levels of testosterone; called hormonal manipulation. Prostate cancer that has spread (metastasized) may be treated conventionally with drugs to reduce testosterone levels, surgery to remove the testes, chemotherapy or nothing at all. Treatment options can vary based on the stage of the tumor.
In patients whose health makes the risk of surgery unacceptably high, radiation therapy is often the chosen conventional alternative. Some drugs with numerous side effects are being used to treat advanced prostate cancer, blocking the production of testosterone, called chemical castration; it has the same result as surgical removal of the testes.
The outcome of prostate cancer varies greatly; mostly because the disease is found in older men who may have a variety of other complicating diseases or conditions, such as cardiac or respiratory disease, or disabilities that immobilize or greatly decrease their activities. Once diagnosed you may want to join a support group where members share their experiences and problems. Because its a very slow-growing disease, many men with this disease will die from other causes before they die from prostate cancer.