What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. It attacks the prostate gland, a small, walnut-shaped organ in men that produces seminal fluid used to nourish and transport sperm.
Because the symptoms of prostate cancer often do not appear until the cancer is well advanced and deadly, it is crucial for men to be screened for the disease beginning at age 50. If detected early, the cancer is treatable.
What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?
We don’t yet completely understand the causes of prostate cancer, but researchers have found several factors that might affect a man’s risk, including:
- Age: Prostate cancer is very rare in men younger than 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men over the age of 65.
- Race/ethnicity: Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men and in Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races. African-American men are also more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as white men.
- Family history: Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that there may be an inherited or genetic factor. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing this disease. The risk is much higher for men with several affected relatives, particularly if their relatives were young when the cancer was found.
- Diet: Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher chance of developing prostate cancer. These men also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
When symptoms do occur, they include the following:
- Trouble urinating
- Stopping and starting while urinating
- Decreased force in the urine stream
- Blood in urine or semen
- Swelling of the legs and discomfort in pelvic areas
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
Tests are used to screen for different types of cancer. There is no standard or routine screening test for prostate cancer. However, testing may include:
- Medical history and physical exam
- PSA blood test
- Cholesterol levels
- Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)
- Prostate biopsy
The latest technology in detection
Prisma Health is at the forefront of prostate cancer detection with the addition of the Artemis MRI fusion technology. Artemis is an innovative instrument that allows our urologists and radiologists to collaborate using a specialized software program to create a three-dimensional (3D) image of the prostate. In fact, studies have shown it to be 50% more accurate than a standard random biopsy. Additionally, this technology has been shown to find tumors in men who have had prior negative biopsies. This may result in fewer biopsies and may also find only those aggressive cancers that need to be treated.
How is prostate cancer treated?
Different types of treatment are available for patients with prostate cancer. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials.
Seven types of standard treatment are used:
- Watchful waiting or active surveillance
- Radiation therapy and radiopharmaceutical therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Biologic therapy
- Bisphosphonate therapy