Prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer and second most common cause of death from cancer in men. Certain men are more at risk, including African Americans, men over age 60, or men who have had a brother or father with prostate cancer. Other risk factors include obesity, poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle and consuming too much alcohol. Treatment includes surgery and radiation, among other options.
Prostate cancer may not cause signs or symptoms in its early stages. In its more advanced stages it may cause symptoms such as:
Prostate cancer can sometimes be detected by a simple blood test before a man shows any signs or symptoms of the disease. This test is called a Prostate-Specific Antigen test, or PSA, and is often done on men over age 50.
To determine for sure if you have prostate cancer, your doctor will perform a biopsy – a sample of tissue that is removed from the prostate and sent to the lab. A prostate biopsy may be requested by your doctor if you have a high PSA level found during a routine checkup, or if a rectal exam shows an enlarged prostate or a hard, uneven surface.
If your biopsy indicates that you have prostate cancer, your doctor will determine its “grade.” The higher the grade, the more likely the cancer is to have spread beyond the prostate, in which case your doctor may recommend additional tests.
There are a variety of treatment options for prostate cancer. The treatment you receive will depend on your overall health, your age, the grade of your cancer, or if your cancer has spread. Your doctor will work with you to determine which treatment is best for you. Some common treatments include:
If you are older, your doctor may suggest that the cancer simply be monitored with biopsies and PSA tests. This is sometimes recommended because prostate cancer can be a slow-growing disease that won’t cause problems during the remaining years of an older man’s life.