Prostate Cancer

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is any cancer that occurs in the prostate, which is the gland, found only in males, that produces seminal fluid. While it is the second most common cancer in males, the prognosis is positive for most men diagnosed with prostate cancer. The survival rate among men diagnosed with prostate cancer is exceptionally high.

What are the different types of prostate cancer?

There are several types of cells in the prostate, but the most common type of prostate cancer starts in the gland cells. This type of cancer is known called adenocarcinoma.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

The symptoms of prostate cancer may vary depending on the type of stage of the cancer. Symptoms typically don't appear until the cancer has reached a later stage. The most common symptoms associated with prostate cancer include:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Presence of blood in the urine and/or semen
  • Persistent back, hip and thigh pain
  • Pelvic pain or discomfort
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Persistent bone pain

If symptoms indicate a possible prostate cancer diagnosis, your physician will likely order a series of diagnostic tests. These tests may include a digital rectal exam, a blood analysis, imaging tests and/or a prostate biopsy.

What are the causes and risk factors of prostate cancer?

The exact cause remains unknown at this time; however certain genetic and environmental risk factors may play a role in the development of prostate cancer. These risk factors include:

  • Family history of prostate cancer
  • Family history of BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations
  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Ethnicity - Prostate cancer occurs more frequently in African American men than in men of other races

How is prostate cancer treated?

Treatment options for prostate cancer depend on the stage of the cancer, as well as the patient's medical history and overall health.

A specialized type of radiation therapy, called brachytherapy, is often recommended for prostate cancer. Other treatment options may include surgery or chemotherapy. In some cases, immediate treatment isn't necessary and active monitoring of the prostate may be recommended.