What Is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer, also known as prostatic carcinoma, is a disease found in the male prostate and is a malignant tumor which develops slowly in the body. Prostate cancer initially doesn’t show any symptoms until the disease has reached a more advanced stage. Symptoms that are generally associated with prostate cancer such as difficulty urinating, is also a common symptom of a non-cancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Numerous men aren’t even aware that they have the disease because the disease can be present in the body without causing any significant health concerns. Medical research has yet to determine an exact cause for prostate cancer. However, certain risk factors that have been attributed with prostate cancer include age (specifically in men over the age of 65), family history, and racial ethnicity.
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
In order to properly diagnose whether or not you may have prostate cancer your doctor will either conduct a digital rectal exam (DRE) or a blood test called prostatic-specific antigen (PSA). These tests are commonly used when screening for prostate cancer and are designed to detect signs of the disease when there aren’t any symptoms present in the patient. On the off chance that your test results are abnormal or inconclusive further testing may be required such as a biopsy or an ultrasound.
- Ultrasound: A small probe is inserted rectally and uses sound waves to create a picture of the prostate gland for further evaluation.
- Prostate Biopsy: A small tissue sample is collected by use of small needle inserted directly into the prostate. The sample is then tested in the lab to determine the potential presence of cancerous cells.
Treatment of the cancer is dependent on what stage of cancer you are assigned by your doctor. There are four stages for prostate cancer which outline the progression of the disease and which will also dictate the course of treatment required. I will cover this more extensively in a future blog. There are many options available to treat prostate cancer in its varying stages all of which will be discussed thoroughly with your doctor. Treatment options will vary from patient to patient some of which include options as chemotherapy surgery and radiation therapy. It’s recommended that you begin annual screening for prostate cancer if you are over the ages of 40 or 50. Prostate cancer discovered in the earliest stages is not only manageable but is also an easily treatable disease.