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Prostate Cancer Facts

Updated on March 31, 2020
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Prostate Information

A man’s prostate is a small gland that is shaped like a small walnut. It is located between the bladder and the penis, just in front of the rectum. It produces seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. A prostate exam is usually done on a man of fifty years of age. If there is a family history of prostate cancer an exam may be performed as early as forty years of age.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. It is typically a slow growing cancer and it is initially confined to the gland. If the cancer is growing slowly it may only need minimal or sometimes no treatment. There are some aggressive types of cancer that spread quickly. The earlier any cancer is detected the better the chance for successful treatment. By age 80 roughly half of all men have prostate cancer. African American men tend to be diagnosed at a younger age.

Symptoms of Prostate Problems

There are some specific symptoms that occur when there is an infection or cancer in the prostate, including:

  • Getting up several times at night to urinate
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Frequently having pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area or in the upper thighs

Prostate Examination

A prostate exam will help your doctor (typically a urologist) diagnose an inflamed or an enlarged prostate. The exam usually involves:

  • Digital rectal exam (DRE) where the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to examine the prostate.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which is a blood test that is analysed for PSA for higher levels in the blood. Higher levels can mean infection or cancer.
  • Dribbling of urine

If there is an abnormality in the DRE or lude:PSA test there are other types of tests that may be ordered, and they include:

  • A transrectal ultrasound may be ordered, which means a small probe will be inserted into the rectum that uses sound waves to create a picture of the prostate gland.
  • A collection of prostate tissue, which is a procedure done with a thin needle to collect tissue that will be analysed in a lab.
  • MRI fusions are being increasingly used as they assist in a prostate biopsy.

Mayo Clinic leverages MRI-TRUS fusion technology that fuses images from an MRI scan and a transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) creating a very precise 360-degree prostate may that improves the accuracy of a prostate biopsy.

The first medical center in the U.S. approved to use C-11 choline PET scanning to help detect recurrent prostate cancer was Mayo Clinic. This scan allows for more precise targeting of cancer cells and it allows for faster follow up treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Treatment

When a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer the first thing is to determine the level of aggressiveness of the cell. Depending on the patient’s age a decision will be made as to what treatment is appropriate. If the cells are not very aggressive and the man is elderly no treatment may be warranted.

The Gleason score is used to grade the cells. The Gleason score ranges from 2 to 10. A score between 8 and 10 is a very aggressive cancer. A score of 2 is a nonaggressive cancer. Additionally, genomic testing is being used more often to get a more accurate risk assessment and to detect aggressive cancers.

Radiation is the most common type of prostate cancer treatment for early diagnoses. Three types of radiation used to treat cancer include:

  • External beam radiation therapy
  • Brachytherapy (internal radiation)
  • Combination of external beam therapy and brachytherapy radiation

If surgery is required, then the prostate gland and some surrounding tissue is removed, along with a few lymph nodes. There are many ways to perform a radical prostatectomy. A robot assist may be used where instruments are attached to a mechanical device (robot) and this is inserted through the abdomen using several small incisions. The surgeon is sitting at a console and uses hand controls to guide the robot. The prostate gland may be removed through an incision in the lower abdomen.

Prostate Pressing on Uretha

Testing for Aggressive Cancers

Once the stage of the cancer is determined a doctor may recommend further tests if the cancer is aggressive and if the doctor suspects the cancer has spread beyond the prostate. Some of the possible testing include:

  • Ultrasound
  • Bone scan
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan

Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer: What to expect

Risk Factor For Prostate Cancer

The primary risk factors for prostate cancers are:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Age above 70 years

Conclusions

Prostate cancer in men over 50 years is the most common when there is a family history. Sometimes the cancer is not aggressive and if the man is older there may be no surgery or other treatment required. Any aggressive cancer receives treatment. The tests for prostate cancers are very good at identifying an aggressive versus a non-aggressive cancer. Prostate cancer is more easily diagnosed than it once was and the treatments are very good.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

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  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Umesh,

    I was a RN for many years and I like to write about medical poblems. Thank you for your comments.

  • bhattuc profile image

    Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

    12 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

    This is a very useful article. You have an expertise for medical articles. Well done.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Mel,

    I'm glad you found this article interesting and I am glad you have no serious problems.

    I appreciate your comments. Stay safe and healthy!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Chitrangada,

    I hope this article will help the elders. Sometimes we don't learn everything we need to know from the doctora.

    Thank you so much for your comments. Stay safe and healthy, Chitrangada.

  • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

    Chitrangada Sharan 

    12 months ago from New Delhi, India

    Very well written and informative article. I am sure, many would benefit from your article.

    I know some elders, who are suffering from this. Passing this on to them.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Mel Carriere profile image

    Mel Carriere 

    12 months ago from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado

    Great information. Fortunately this does not run in my family. A recent CT scan I had to check for a hernia showed that I had some minor calcium deposits in the prostate, but the doctor said it was not a worry. Very interesting facts on the prostate and cancer in general here.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Manatita,

    Thanks for comentng and I pray you stay well also.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Vidya,

    I am glad this article might be helpful to you. I hope your husband stays healthy.

    My brother-in-law had prostate surgery for the same reason. Thank you for your comments.

  • vidsagster profile image

    VIDYA D SAGAR 

    12 months ago

    Thanks Pamela for a very informative and useful article. My husband has been advised surgery as he has an enlarged prostrate. Most of the symptoms that you have mentioned match with his. But we were wondering why he suggested surgery straight away on the basis of a scan. Now we can follow up with him about other tests and other treatment options.

  • manatita44 profile image

    manatita44 

    12 months ago from london

    Yes, I remember now.

    After all, I wrote about you. I still keep thinking it's just Ruby, Peggy and I, but yes, I remember. There's even another one. Stay well.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Manatita,

    I am a retired RN and I like to write medical articles that help people.I don't know what I might write from one time to the next. Often I just happen to read something that triggers my imagination.

    I have learned so much about many of the writers on Hubpages as they talk of their health problems quite often.

    Thanks for sharing something about your life, Manatilla. I appreciate your comments.

  • manatita44 profile image

    manatita44 

    12 months ago from london

    Well Pamela,

    Looks like you wrote this one for me, right? A nice walk to my past career or still current. I'm beginning to forget I still have a license. Ha ha.

    Actually, I have worked in hospitals for over 35 years and the longest that I have stayed in any one place is under 3 years.

    So I have worked in what we call Interventional radilogy as well: CT, Ultrasound, MRi, recovery, Porters bed bay and Nuclear is also there but specialized. So I only went to assist, when my patient was taken there and I would go in for the monitoring of vital signs.

    What made you write that Hub?

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Linda,

    I am glad your brother is doing well. This is a common disease for men but thankfully it is very treatable if it is caught early. I appreciate your comments, Linda.

  • Carb Diva profile image

    Linda Lum 

    12 months ago from Washington State, USA

    Thank you for taking the time to write about this disease; I would bet that everyone knows someone who has been affected by this. My brother was diagnosed 6 years ago; thankfully his is slow-growing (he's 92 years old).

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Rajan, I agree with you. Thank you for your comments.

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 

    12 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

    A very important subject for older males. Thanks for the education.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi MG,

    I am glad you found this information useful.I appreciated your comments. Stay healthy!

  • emge profile image

    MG Singh emge 

    12 months ago from Singapore

    Great information and all men must read this as it is a malady peculiar to older men. You have covered the topic very well and I thank you for all the information you have disseminated.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Maria,

    I had no idea any insurance would not cover that blood test. I don't understand that either. Thanks for your comments, Maria.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Flourish,

    I think you are exactly right and most of the cases must be mild. There have been so many advances in treatments as well. Thanks for commenting.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Lorna,

    Getting cancer diagnosed early is so important. Thanks you so much for your nice comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Adrienne,

    It is a high percentage but I believe most of those are the the mild types that do not require treatment. I appreciate your comments.

  • alexadry profile image

    Adrienne Farricelli 

    12 months ago

    Hi Pamela, thanks for writing this. It's concerning that by age 80 roughly half of all men have prostate cancer, that a high percentage.

  • Lorna Lamon profile image

    Lorna Lamon 

    12 months ago

    Lots of valuable information in this article Pamela. I think the key is to be diagnosed early. I was surprised at the number of over 80's who have been diagnosed. It's good to know that both testing and treatment have improved so much over the years. Great article.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 

    12 months ago from USA

    I was floored by how prevalent this cancer is. Do most older men just end up dying of other causes? Is this why this does not get as much attention as it merits given those numbers?

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    12 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Pamela,

    This is such an important subject to raise awareness about thank you.

    I am annoyed that our insurance company refuses to cover my husband's annual Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test - just can't understand the logic.

    Have a peaceful night.

    Love,

    Maria

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Peggy,

    I was surprised also. Thanks for commenting.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Ruby,

    Thanks for sharing the experience of your friend. I appreciate you nice comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Ms Dora,

    I am glad you have a better understanding ofprostate cancer. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    12 months ago from The Caribbean

    Thanks for this clearly presented article on prostate cancer. I have a much better understanding of the topic.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    12 months ago from Southern Illinois

    I had a good friend who had prostate cancer, he was a veteran and the VA sent him to Washington State to have radio active seeds implanted in his prostate and it worked. He was cancer-free after a few weeks. Your article is well written and valuable. Thank you.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    12 months ago from Houston, Texas

    I never realized that statistic about how common prostate cancer is in men over age 80. Amazing!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Devika, There are not always too many symptoms. The statistics are surprising. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Linda,

    Cancer can certainly return and that is sad for sure. I'm sure you miss your friend. Thanks for sharing your experience and for commenting.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    12 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Hi Pamela I too know of people who problems with prostate and many cases seek treatment when it is too late This information is important and should require every man's attention. I am surprised at the statistics!

  • lindacee profile image

    Linda Chechar 

    12 months ago from Arizona

    Our friend in his 80s had prostate cancer. He had radioactive prostate seeds that helped the cancer remission for at least a year or two. It did come back unfortunately.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Liz,

    It is good to gain as much knowledge as you can. I know people that have had prostate problems also. I appreciate your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Bill,

    I was amazed when I read that statistic also. I think they are probably the slow growing cancers but it still sounds horrible.

    Thanks so much for commenting. I hope you get some great sunny weather soon!

  • Eurofile profile image

    Liz Westwood 

    12 months ago from UK

    In recent years there has been much more publicity and education in the UK about this form of cancer. I know of at least 2 sufferers. Your article has explained prostate cancer well.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    12 months ago from Olympia, WA

    That's an amazing statistic, isn't it? Nearly half of men over 80 have prostate cancer. I was talking to my doctor about that last year. There is so much we simply don't know. It's weird to think I might have it right now and not know it.

    Oh well...carpe diem!

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