Prostate cancer is cancer that develops in the prostate gland. The prostate, located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, is part of the male reproductive system and produces the seminal fluid that transports sperm.
Prostate cancer affects more than 200,000 men every year and is the most common cancer found in men. One in six men will be diagnosed during the course of their lifetime. Today, with early detection and new leading edge treatments, prostate cancer can be successfully treated.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Knowing the signs of prostate cancer and early detection is very important to successful treatment. If you notice symptoms of prostate cancer make an appointment with your physician right away.
Symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- Difficulty urinating including starting and stopping the stream of urine
- Painful urination
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the semen
- Low back pain
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in the semen
- Swelling in the legs
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
Although the chances of prostate cancer increase with age, younger men can be diagnosed with it as well. While we do not yet know what causes prostate cancer, scientists have learned that certain factors can increase your risk, including:
- Family history: If your father or brother has prostate cancer, your chances of developing prostate cancer are two times greater.
- Age: Three quarters of all reported cases occur in men age 65 and older.
- Race: African-American men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer in the world. They're two times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease, and two and a half to three times more likely to die of prostate cancer.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about prostate cancer screening. Also, ask your doctor about steps to improve your overall health such as maintaining a low fat diet and exercising regularly.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test
Prostate cancer screening may catch cancer early, when it best responds to treatment. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a blood test that can reveal if you have a problem with your prostate.
This simple blood test detects prostate-specific antigen, a chemical that escapes from the prostate into the bloodstream in very small quantities. Higher levels of PSA may mean you have a prostate problem, such as an enlarged prostate, infection or cancer. If you have elevated PSA levels, your doctor will refer you to a urologist for more tests.
The American Cancer Society recommends regular PSA tests for:
- African-American men beginning at age 40
- White men who have a brother or father diagnosed with prostate cancer beginning at age 40
- White men without a family history of the disease beginning at age 50
Make a life-saving appointment today to talk to your doctor about the PSA test.
Treatments for Prostate Cancer
There are a variety of innovative treatments available for prostate cancer.
At Penn, treatments for prostate cancer include:
- Active surveillance (watchful waiting)
- Surgery for prostate cancer
- Radical prostatectomy
- Robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy: A minimally invasive, leading edge procedure that uses robotic instruments to completely remove the prostate.
- Radiation therapy for prostate cancer
- Image guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
- Proton therapy
- Chemotherapy and biologic therapies for prostate cancer
- Hormone therapy
- Vaccine therapy
- Clinical trials for prostate cancer