Prostate Cancer Can Be Deadly. Get Screened Now.

September 21, 2023

By: Lior Hirsch M.D.

Just because something is highly curable, that doesn’t mean it’s not deadly.

Consider prostate cancer. It’s common among men of a certain age – one in eight are diagnosed in his lifetime, usually in his 60s. But if caught early through a simple screening, an estimated nine in 10 of these cases can be cured.

Yet prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in men.

Screenings do save lives. More than 3.1 million men with prostate cancer are alive today, thanks to preventive screenings and advanced treatments.

Ready for Your Screening? What to Expect

You should begin getting tested for prostate cancer at age 50, or at age at 45 if you are African American and/or have an immediate family member diagnosed with the disease. These factors would put you at higher risk.

Typically, the screening begins with an overview of your medical history and a physical exam. During the physical, the doctor will perform a digital rectal exam, inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to detect abnormalities.

Some prostate cancers might be too small or distant to be felt through a rectal exam, though. This is why additional studies including urine, testosterone, and PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood tests.

A PSA is a protein produced by prostate cells, including cancerous cells. Some of this protein is passed into the bloodstream, so men with prostate cancer often have high PSA levels. The test flags these levels. But what is considered a “normal” amount of PSA varies from man to man. This is why you should request a PSA screening at age 45 or 50, to establish your healthy baseline.

Prostate Cancer Can Be Treated in Many Ways. You Have Choices

If the physician detects signs of cancer, an image-guided biopsy, using an ultrasound, will be advised. This procedure can last five to 15 minutes. If you are diagnosed with cancer that is low-risk, surveillance and follow-up biopsies may be prescribed.

If the disease progresses, other treatments can be pursued:

Surgical options – If the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate, the gland can be removed, often through minimally invasive robotic surgery using small incisions.

Radiation Therapy – In this process, also for contained cancers, doses of energy kill the cancer cells. Among the options:

  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy – High doses of radiation are delivered over a small number of outpatient sessions, typically five in two weeks.
  • External, or image-guided, radiation – For larger prostate areas, imaging directs high doses of radiation in daily sessions, usually over eight weeks.
  • Brachytherapy – Here, radioactive seeds are placed into the prostate and release measures of radiation.

Hormone Therapy – Testosterone aids the growth of prostate cancer cells, so medications have been devised to block its production. Without this nourishment, the cancerous growth slows or shrinks. This treatment is advised when cancer is detected outside the prostate.

Immunotherapy – Also for later stages of prostate cancer, these medications empower your body’s immune system to fight cancer cells, including evasive cells that try to adapt.

Chemotherapy – Advised when the cancer does not respond to other therapies, this chemical drug or drug combination destroys cancer cells. Treatments and dosages can depend on the cancer.

It’s Your Prostate Cancer to Prevent – the Choice Is Yours

The path to curing prostate cancer differs by patient, but we can help you make informed, confident decisions, based on your lifestyle and preferences.

What remains consistent are your options for prevention. An early diagnosis will improve your treatment’s success, and your ability to live a cancer-free life, sooner.

MidLantic Urology’s physicians and staff continue to find progressive, more effective treatments through clinical trials. Learn more about the risks, symptoms, and stages of prostate cancer  here.

Schedule an appointment with a MidLantic Urology Physician near you today!

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