Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men (the first being skin cancer). According to the American Cancer Society there will be close to 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer this year, and over 33,000 prostate cancer deaths. Early detection of prostate cancer can make treatment safer and easier.
Doctors Craig Herman and Steven Kester at the Urology Center of Florida have decades of experience treating urological conditions, including prostate cancer.
What is prostate cancer?
The prostate gland is a walnut shaped gland that produces seminal fluid, which plays an essential role in nourishing and transporting sperm. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men (lung cancer is the first) and about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown.
Many cases of prostate cancer are nonfatal, especially when detected early, but advanced prostate cancer can be highly deadly. The cancer may metastasize and spread to other parts of your body, including your bladder, rectum, lymph nodes, and bones. Serious cases of prostate cancer, or necessary treatment, can also have an impact on urinary and sexual function.
What are the early signs?
Prostate cancer doesn’t always cause noticeable symptoms, especially in the early stages, so the best way to detect prostate cancer early on is through regular screenings.
You should be attentive to any urinary and ejaculatory issues. They may be a sign of a prostate health issue, including cancer. See your doctor right away if you’re experiencing any of the following:
- Burning urination
- Painful urination
- Difficulty urinating
- Bladder control loss
- Lower urine stream
- Blood in urine
- Blood in semen
- Erectile dysfunction
- Painful ejaculation
Risk factors for prostate cancer include age (chances of the cancer increase in middle age), family history, smoking and diet. It is most common in North America and Northern Europe, and African-American males are commonly at high risk for the cancer. Your doctor may recommend more frequent screenings depending on your risk factors.
How is prostate cancer treated?
A PSA (prostate specific antigen) test of the blood is a prostate specific method of testing for prostate cancer. The prostate produces the antigens used in the tests naturally, and elevated levels can indicate if cancer is present. A DRE (digital rectum test) may also be necessary to confirm a diagnosis. Once those are done, biopsies, imaging tests and advanced genomic testing are done to detect the presence of cancer cells, the stage of cancer and for abnormalities in the DNA.
Treatment options vary depending on the stage of cancer and how aggressive it is. A healthy diet, healthy weight, and exercise are simple ways to help in fighting the cancer. Slower growing cancers that show minimal symptoms may be treated using monitoring methods like active surveillance and watchful waiting. These methods observe any changes in the cancer’s progression and treatment would only change if the cancer gets worse. Aggressive cancers are treated with radiation therapy to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells or prostatectomy surgery to remove the gland completely.
Finding the right treatment for prostate cancer can prevent far worse complications if caught early enough. If you think you may have the early stages of prostate cancer, make an appointment with Dr Herman, Dr. Kester and the Urology Center of Florida to get expert treatment right away.