Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a serious threat to the health and well-being of men.  It is a very serious form of cancer and took the lives of 144,926 American men between 2003 and 2007. According to the National Cancer Institute, It is estimated241,740new cases and 28,178 deaths from prostate cancer in the United States in 2012. We will discuss some of the causes, symptoms and treatments for this disease.

Prostate cancer affects the prostate which is the organ which produces the seminal fluid to carry sperm.  As with many other types of cancer, early detection and treatment are essential in helping the patient to make a full recovery.

Prostate cancer is cancer that starts in the prostate gland. The prostate is a small, walnut-sized structure that makes up part of a man’s reproductive system. It wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing this disease.  For some reason, African-American men tend to develop it on a more frequent basis than the norm.  It also tends to occur in men who are over the age of 60 and is rarely found in younger men.  Those men who have a close family member who developed the disease like their father or brother are at higher risk.  And men who have abused alcohol for many years are generally at higher risk.

Diet can also play a role as it is found that men who eat a good deal of animal fat have a higher than normal risk of developing prostate cancer.  And the environment can play a role as workers who have been exposed to cadmium, tire plant workers and painters are at higher risk.

A PSA blood test is often used to screen men for prostate cancer.  It is effective in identifying the disease in its early stages.  However if the disease has progressed further, symptoms can include a slow start to urination; dribbling or leakage of urine after urinating; a slow urinary stream; blood in the urine or semen; or bone pain or tenderness in the lower back and pelvic bones.

A biopsy is the best way to confirm if you have the presence of prostate cancer.  A biopsy is usually recommended if the results of the PSA test are high and a rectal exam shows the prostate to be hard or uneven.

The biopsy will provide what is called the Gleason score to judge the extent of the cancer and assess whether or not it has spread to other organs.  Other tests like a CT scan or bone scan may assess the extent of this cancer spread.

Treatments will depend on the severity of the cancer and overall health of the patient.  A surgical procedure like a radical prostatectomy will remove the affected prostate.  Radiation therapy may be used as well.  The most common types of radiation therapy include brachytherapy and proton therapy.

And if it found that the cancer has spread, hormone therapy, other surgical procedures or chemotherapy may be used to limit the spread and hopefully put the disease into remission.

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