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What You Need to Know About Prostate Cancer

Updated on June 4, 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 Cancer Statistics

Prostate cancer in men is common and second only to skin cancer. In the U.S. this year it is expected that 191,930 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

At this time there are 3.1 million men living in the U.S. with this disease. Men are typically over age 65 when they are diagnosed, and the cancer is very rare in men under age 40. Black men have a 60% higher risk of prostate cancer than white men.


Detection of Prostate Cancer

There are not many early signs of this cancer. There five signs that could mean prostate cancer and they include:

  • Frequent urination, especially during the night
  • Painful or burning sensation with urination or ejaculation
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Hard to stop or start urination
  • Sudden erectile dysfunction

Testing men who have no symptoms is controversial as medical organizations do not agree on testing. Some doctors believe in early screening since this cancer has so few symptoms, particularly if their father had prostate cancer. There are medications, like Darifenacin, that can be prescribed for men that wake up more than twice during the night to urinate.

A screening for prostate cancer might include:

  1. Digital rectal exam (DRE) - A doctor inserts his gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to examine your prostate gland.nd
  2. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) - a blood sample is used to analyze it for PSA, which is a substance that is not naturally produced by the prostate gland. Your blood will normally have PSA but not a higher than normal amount. An elevated PSA will probably mean further testing to see if you have cancer.
  3. Further testing will include various scans, including: an MRI, CAT, PET and bone scan. An ultrasound that uses sound waves to create a picture of the prostate may also be used. Prostate tissue may also be collected using a thin needle to collect prostate tissue for the lab.

In addition, Mayo Clinic was the first medical facility in the U.S. that is approved by the FDA to use C-11 choline PET scanning that detects recurrent prostate cancer at early stages. Other tests are not able to detect cancer cells at this early state. Next, the cancer aggressiveness of the cancer cells is determined by a laboratory.

Prostate Cancer: Signs & Symptoms

Grading Prostate Cancer Cells

There are several scales used for evaluating prostate cancer cells but the Gleason score is the most common one. Two numbers are combined and they can range from 2 (a nonaggressive cancer) to 10 (a very aggressive cancer). The most common numbers seen with cancer cells ranges from 6-10 with 6 being a low-grade prostate cancer and a 7 indicating a medium-grade prostate cancer cell. Cancer cell screening is used to describe how far the cancer has spread.

Other cancer staging systems include:

  • AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) TNM system
  • D’Amico
  • Partin table
  • Kattan nomograms
  • UCSF Cancer of the Prostate Risk Assessment (CAPRA)
  • TBN system

Prostate Cancer Cells
Prostate Cancer Cells | Source

Prostate Cancer Treatments

Stage 4 prostate cancer has already metastasized so there is no cure for this stage. The treatment for stage 4 is to stop the supply of hormones (testosterone) that will usually cause the cancer cells to shrink or at least slow its growth.

There are medications known as a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) agonists and antagonists that prevent the testicles from receiving the message to make testosterone. The drugs include leuprolide (Eligard, Lupron Depot, and others), triptorelin (Trelstar), degarelix (Firmagon), histrelin (Vantas) and goserelin (Zoladex).

Other medications that block testosterone from reaching the cancer cells are called anti-androgens. These medications include bicalutamide (Casodex). flutamide and nilutamide (Nilandron). One of these medications may be given with a LH-RH agonist or it may be given before the LH-RH is given.

When hormone therapy stops working an anti-androgen drug may be an option, which includes enzalutamide (Xtandi) and apalutamide (Erleada).

Other possible medications that may be used to control testosterone levels include abiraterone (Yonsa, Zytiga), ketoconazole (antifungal medication), estrogen (the female hormone) and steroid drugs.

Radiation therapy is another option. It uses high-powered beams of energy (X-rays and protons) to kill cancer cells. It may help with the bone pain.

Surgical treatment may be used to remove the testicles as it reduces testosterone levels. However, surgery is typically used only for those men who are experiencing signs and symptoms of their cancer, such as difficulty in passing their urine. Surgery is also used for cancer that has grown beyond the edges of the prostate. Lymph nodes near the prostate may be removed and tested for cancer cells.

Chemotherapy may also be prescribed to slow the growth of cancer cells to prolong the life of men with prostate cancer. The immune system may be trained to recognize cells using immunotherapy. Sipuleucel-T (Provenge) is a form of immunotherapy specifically developed to genetically engineer your immune system to fight prostate cancer.

Bone thinning is a result of the treatment for prostate cancer that causes the damage to the bones, so medications can treat this thinning. If the prostate cancer has spread to the bones than a radioactive medication may be used, such as samarium-153 (Quadramet), Strontium-89 (Metastron) or radium-223 (Xofigo) may be used as they target the fast-growing prostate cancer cells in the bones, and they may relieve bone pain.

If you are experiencing pain there are pain medications and treatments available.

There are possible side effects to the hormone therapy that include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Loss of bone mass
  • Breast enlargement
  • Weight gain

Foods That Help Prevent Prostate Cancer

There are some foods that have been shown through research that help prevent prostate cancer, which include:

  • Tomatoes (contains lycopene)
  • Broccoli
  • Green Tea
  • Legumes and soybeans
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Fish

Hormone Therapy for High-Risk Prostate Cancer

In Conclusion

Prostate cancer is a fairly common cancer among men once they reach their mid-sixties. Most men live at least 5 years after their diagnosis. There are not many signs or symptoms in the early stages of this disease. There are treatments that typically lower the testosterone level, which kills the prostate cancer cells.

Prostate Cancer

Did you know anything about prostate cancer before reading this article?

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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


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    14 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Chris,

    I appreciate your very long, but important comment. I think it is good to know how the process works. I didn't know that information and I appreciate your explanation. I think others will be glad to know as well.

  • cam8510 profile image

    Chris Mills 

    14 months ago from Traverse City, MI

    This is valuable information, Pamela. I am a histology technician. After the doctors take the prostate core sample, they send it to my department. We stop the decomposition of the tissue by putting the cores in a solution of formaldehyde. After that, we dehydrate the tissue in alcohol. Xylene removes the alcohol and liquid paraffin replaces the xylene. The tissue is then embedded in a block of paraffin. We put the block on an instrument called a microtome and cut sections that are 4 micrometers thick. That is about the thickness of one cell. The section is floated on a warm water bath and picked up onto a glass slide. The paraffin is removed by soaking the slide in xylene. The slide is then placed in a series of staining reagents. These reagents attach to the different parts of the tissue and cells. A glass slip covers the tissue and it is sent to the pathologist who renders a diagnosis. Sorry this is so long, but I hope it is interesting and helpful to some who may be wondering what happens to their biopsy. I have written an entire hub on this topic.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Maria,

    I also believe in screening without symptoms. Thank you so much for your comments,

    Love and hugs

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    15 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Dear Pamela,

    I also agree with early screening, even with men who have no symptoms.

    This seems to be yet another reason for insurance companies to stay out of the medical decision-making process.

    Thanks for raising awareness and for such a comprehensive article on prostate cancer.



  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 

    15 months ago

    You're welcome and thank you for posting.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Robert,

    I appreciate your comments.

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 

    15 months ago

    Thank you for another informative medical article.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Devika,

    It is a shame that this cancer is often diagnosed in the later stages. A man could get the blood test for PSA every year and that is a good way to get a diagnoses earlier. Thanks so much for your generous comments.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    15 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    This is an important topic and so often ignored my men. They do not have examinations until in it latter stages. I have noticed a few men who were diagnosed with Prostate cancer had got to it in a later stage. Unfortunately they did not see it through.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Ms Dora,

    I am glad you found the article informative. Thank you for reading the article and commenting.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    15 months ago from The Caribbean

    I know much more now that I have read your article. Very informative, clear and helpful. Thank you very much.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Linda,

    I am not sure what the fractures have to do with this cancer unless it is a particular medicine. I think any man that sees his family doctor regularly probably gets a PSA test. I appreciate your comments, Linda.

  • Carb Diva profile image

    Linda Lum 

    15 months ago from Washington State, USA

    Pamela the PSA test should be as routine as the Pap smear for women. Thanks for explaining this disease. My brother was diagnosed several years ago, buy was told it's the slow growing one. He feels well but has had problems with fractures. I didn't know that could be a problem

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Peachy,

    There are surely people that do not want to talk aout this cancer and your father-in-law is a good example. I think he is probably at peace now.

    I think getting the simple blood test (PSA) erach year is so worth while. Thank you so much for your comments, Peachy.

  • peachpurple profile image


    15 months ago from Home Sweet Home

    my father in law had it but his kids refused to seek 2nd opinion from another doctor. He had 6 months to live. He was suffering.I guess he had rest in peace now.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Peggy

    I am glad doctors have started checking the PSA for men as catching any disease early is iportant. Thank you so much for your very nice comments.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    15 months ago from Houston, Texas

    Many doctors have PSA as part of the regular blood testing for men past a certain age. I know that it is a regular test for my husband these days. It is always better to catch disease of any type, muchless cancer, at an early stage for treatment. Your articles are always so informative.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Linda,

    I am glad you find my articles informative. I always appreciate your comments.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Thank you for sharing your medical knowledge, Pamela. Your health articles are always very informative.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Clive,

    I'm glad you like my medical article and I appreciate your comments, as always.

  • clivewilliams profile image

    Clive Williams 

    15 months ago from Jamaica

    love your medical articles. Always full of Good researched material. Prostate cancer is like Covid.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Bill,

    A simple routine blood test for PSA is one way to be diagnosed. I don't think worrying about having any health problem is a good idea. I am glad you found the article to have good information. Have a nice weekend, Superman!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    15 months ago from Olympia, WA

    It's weird thinking I might have it and not know it, but that's a reality many men face. Oh well, and I don't say that blithely. I just can't worry about stuff like this. I'm going out one way or another, you know? Until then I choose to live as though I'm Superman. :) Great information, Pamela!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi MG,

    I know men do not want to discuss this cancer but I thought it was a good idea to write about because this is a fairly common problem. I hope there will be a permanent cure but we don't have one yet. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Bill,

    I am glad you get the PSA test as that is the best way to check for any change. I appreciate your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Rosina,

    I am glad you found this article informative. I appreciate your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Flourish,

    I don't know how thoroughly these foods were tested but I did found a reference to them more than once. I know tested pumpkin seeds as well without any proof they really help. Thank you for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Rajan,

    I am glad you found this article informative and I appreciate your comments.

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 

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

    Thanks for providing some very useful information on prostate cancer.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image


    15 months ago from USA

    It’s good to know about the foods that can help prevent it. Thank you for this information so I can keep my husband healthy.

  • surovi99 profile image

    Rosina S Khan 

    15 months ago

    I have heard of prostate cancer before but didn't actually know what it was. This article shed light for me on what it is, its symptoms and possible treatments. Thank you, Pamela, for sharing such a useful and informative article.

  • bdegiulio profile image

    Bill De Giulio 

    15 months ago from Massachusetts

    Very well written, Pam. I was unaware that there are specific foods that can help prevent prostate cancer. I will certainly make an effort to increase my consumption of these foods. I do get a PSA test every year so I am trying to proactive.

  • emge profile image

    MG Singh emge 

    15 months ago from Singapore

    A very informative article which men normally do not want to discuss.But its quite common and I wonder if a permanent cure will ever come.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Linda,

    I don't necessarily think the food prevent the cancer but maybe it keeps a person healthier. I found these foods in more than one spot so I assure that these are simply healthy foods that may reduce the risk. I appreciate your comments.

  • lindacee profile image

    Linda Chechar 

    15 months ago from Arizona

    I didn't know that these healthy foods prevent the prostate cancer. Like your article!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Ruby,

    I am glad your friend was cured as that is always the goal. I am glad you found the article helpful. I don't know the degree that the foods prevent cancer but I would do anything that may help if I was a man.

    Thank you so much for your comments.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    15 months ago from Southern Illinois

    This is a great article. I wish I'd known about the foods that prevent prostate cancer. I had a dear friend who had it. He was a veteran and the V.A. sent him to a hospital in Washington who did radioactive seeds in the prostate and it cured him. That was a few years back and I think that was the only place that did that at the time.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Eric,

    I appreciate your comments. Stay safe and healthy!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Liz,

    Brachytherpy is one of the radiation treatments. I didn't go into any detail for specific types of radiation. It always seems like I am getting the articles too long. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 

    15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Well done as always and a good time for me to read it. All good so far.

  • Eurofile profile image

    Liz Westwood 

    15 months ago from UK

    This is a very informative and helpful article. Awareness of prostate cancer has been given more publicity in recent years to encourage men to consult a doctor if they have any symptoms. In the UK I have known some men who have been treated with brachytherapy.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Manatita,

    What I read was pumpkin seeds and palmetto seeds might help benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms, but they are really a folk remedy and I found no studies that said that help with prostate cancer.

    I have written a few articles for women so I thought it was time to write about a man's health. Prostate cancer is so common for men. I appreciate your comments, Manatita.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    15 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Ann,

    I think any stigma is gone these days. Your generous comments almost make me blush, Ann. Thank you so much.

  • manatita44 profile image


    15 months ago from london

    I see that you are covering the guys like me this time. Cool! Nice article in terms of education - including videos - but not so promising in terms of cure.

    You didn't include pumpkin seeds or zinc. I have been hearing of their benefits in prostate cancer for years! Informative Hub.

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 

    15 months ago from SW England

    At least these days it doesn't come with such a stigma and more men are likely to have a test or talk about symptoms.

    You've detailed so much here. I didn't realise there were so many stages and you've set out all the information in your usual precise and clear style. Your medical hubs are always interesting and informative, Pamela.

    Hope you are well.



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