Learn About Prostate Cancer
Many men don’t think about their health until it becomes a problem. This is particularly true with prostate issues. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a common line of thinking. In fact, in its early stages, prostate cancer may have no symptoms, so many men do not know they have the disease. Learning about prostate cancer will better equip you to cope with a prostate cancer diagnosis and become familiar with the treatment options available to you. Unfortunately, many men know very little about prostate cancer, testing options, and available treatments. Taking the time to educate yourself before or after a prostate cancer diagnosis can make you more confident during your course of treatment.
The Prostate: What is it?
The prostate is a gland, roughly the size of a walnut, which makes a fluid that is a component of semen. It is found near the base of the penis, underneath the bladder. On occasion, the prostate can grow larger, which can inhibit urination and cause discomfort. That alone, however, does not necessarily indicate prostate cancer.
When to Be Concerned about Prostate Issues
While prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, it is important to know that the likelihood of dying from prostate cancer is relatively low. The vast majority of men can live with prostate cancer with appropriate management.
Cancer cells in the prostate grow faster than normal cells. This can lead to the formation of tumors. Most prostate cancer cases are adenocarcinomas, which begin in cells that line glands. When prostate cancer cells grow, they can envelop most of the prostate and even spread to nearby tissues.
In advanced cases, prostate cancer can metastasize, spreading to other parts of the body via blood vessels or lymph vessels. Many instances of prostate cancer are slow-growing, but some can be aggressive. It isn’t known why this happens, but receiving proper treatment is essential for all men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Understanding how aggressive your prostate cancer is can help you and your doctor create a personalized treatment plan that best manages your specific cancer.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Some men may have an increased risk of prostate cancer. Common risk factors include:
- Age. About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men who are older than 65.
- Race. While prostate cancer is found across all ethnic groups, African American men are more likely to develop it.
- Family history. If your brother or father has had prostate cancer, then you have a higher likelihood of having it too.
While men who fit these criteria may be at higher risk, it is far from certain that they will get prostate cancer. It is important to discuss these specific risk factors with your doctor in order to decide which surveillance and prostate cancer treatment options are best for you.
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you are probably researching all available prostate cancer testing and treatment options.
Prolaris® is a novel genetic test that measures prostate cancer aggressiveness. Prolaris adds additional information, beyond traditional clinical and pathologic tools, like Gleason Score and PSA, that guides more personalized treatment.