Prostate Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of nondermatologic cancer is the U.S. and is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer-related death. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 184,000 new causes of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and about 39,000 men will die of the disease in 1998. Prostate cancer occurs at an age when other medical conditions such as heart disease and stroke, may contribute significantly to the cause of death. Thus, the number of men who will die with prostate cancer is rather unknown.
Preventable risk factors for prostate cancer are unknown, and effective measures to prevent this disease do not currently exist.
Two methods for detecting prostate cancer are currently available to clinicians:
The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) measurement is a blood test that is popular with many clinicians, but medical consensus on its use and interpretation has not been reached. PSA is an enzyme measured in the blood that rises naturally as men age. It also rises in the presence of prostate abnormalties. Thus, it is difficult to differntiate between prostate cancer, benign growth of the prostate--a condition referred to as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)--and other conditions os the prostate such as prostatitis.
The Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) has been used for years as a screening test for prostate cancer. However, its ability to detect cancer when it is present is limited. Small tumors often form in portions of the prostate that cannot be reached on a (DRE). Clinicians may have difficulty distiguishing between benign abnormalties and prostate cancer, and the interpretation and results of the examination may vary with the experience of the examiner.
Are You At Risk?
Prostate cancer is most common among men aged 65 years or older. About 80% of all clinically diagnosed cases of prostate cancer are among men in this age group. At all ages, African American men tend to be diagnosed with the disease at later stages and to die of prostate cancer more often than white men. The incidence of this disease among African American men is among the highest in the world.
What Are The Symptoms?
Symptoms of severe prostate enlargement vary widely. Note: There is almost never any pain, and there is no surface swelling or lump either, because the prostate is deep within the lower abdomen.
* Weak urinary system
* Frequent urges to urinate (urges so strong that it may wake you several times in the night) yet you can pass only a dribble whenever you try
* Blood in the urine
The treatment of cancer at the time is based on the stage of cancer.
Patients with early stages of cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate use the following treatments............
Radical prostatectomy, or complete surgical removal of the prostate, is frequently used for patients younger than 70 years old who are in good health. Physicians rarely suggest radical prostatectomy if cancer has spread to pelvic lymph nodes. Complications of radical prostatectomy may be short- or long-term. These complications include impotence and urinary incontinence. The risk for these complications increases with age and also depends on the amount of damage to nerve and blood supplies that occurs during the surgical procedure. Most men who undergo a radical prostatectomy experience at least a partial decrease or decline in potency. Currently, there insn't any data available to provide definite evidence that this surgical procedure decreases mortality or prolongs life.
Radiation therapy, or treatment of the tumor site with low levels of radiation, is used for cancer that is confined to the prostate. In addition, it is sometimes used to treat prostate cancer that has spread to bone or surrounding tissue. Some side effects of radiation therapy, which can include acute inflammation of the bladder, rectum, and intestines, are generally reversible. However, chronic inflammation can result in strictures that require surgery in up to 2% of men treated with radiation therapy.
This page was last updated on 12-17-98