Important Facts About Prostate Cancer
One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. And while it’s the second most common cancer found in American men, it’s rarely diagnosed in men under the age of 40. At Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA), we use the most advanced techniques and treatments available to achieve the best possible outcome when it comes to prostate cancer. Call us at 844-346-7222 to learn more.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer found in the prostate, a gland that surrounds the bladder neck and produces seminal fluid in men. Like other cancers, prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate begin to grow out of control. The majority of prostate cancer cases are adenocarcinomas, or malignant tumors that develop and are usually confined to the prostate gland. Although rare, other types of prostate cancer can occur, such as:
Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer in its early stages doesn’t usually present with any signs or symptoms. However, if the cancer is in a more advanced stage, it can sometimes result in symptoms, such as:
- Trouble urinating, such as a slow urinary stream or frequent urination
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Bone pain in the hips, back, chest or another area where the cancer has spread to
- Leg or feet weakness/numbness
- Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
While many of these signs might indicate something other than prostate cancer, you should always check with your healthcare provider if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
When it comes to prostate cancer, there are several risk factors involved that may increase your risk of developing the cancer. Though certain factors, like smoking and diet, can be controlled, others, such as family history and race, cannot. Here are some of the top risk factors researchers have found to contribute to the risk of developing prostate cancer:
- Age – You already know that getting prostate cancer before the age of 40 is rare. After age 50, the chances for having prostate cancer rise significantly, and 6 in 10 instances of prostate cancer are found in men over the age of 65. In other words, as you age, your prostate cancer risk increases.
- Race – Certain ethnicities, including African-American men and Caribbean men of African descent, have a higher risk of getting prostate cancer than Caucasian men. Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men, on the other hand, have a lower risk than Caucasian men.
- Geography – For unknown reasons, geography is thought to play a role in increasing the risk of prostate cancer, as it’s most commonly diagnosed in North America, Northwestern Europe, Australia and the Caribbean.
- Family history – Genetics also increase the risk for getting prostate cancer. For example, if you’re the brother or son of a family member with prostate cancer, your risk is doubled.
- Gene changes – Some inherited gene changes, such as mutations in the BRCA2 genes, have been linked to higher prostate cancer risks in men.
- Other possible risk factors – Besides the aforementioned risk factors, others may include diet, obesity, smoking, chemical exposure and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, these connections require further research.
Stages and Survival Rates
After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor will determine the cancer’s growth using the TNM staging system, where T stands for tumor, N stands for lymph node and M stands for metastasis. Based on the TNM classifications, they can determine the cancer’s stage. There are four stages of prostate cancer, including:
- Stage I – The cancer is slow growing, and the tumor cannot be felt.
- Stage II – The tumor is found only in the prostate.
- Stage III – The tumor is growing and likely to grow and spread.
- Stage IV – The cancer has metastasized, meaning it has spread to other sites in the body.
With any cancer, early detection is crucial to ensuring the best prognosis. The five-year survival rates by stage are as follows:
- Local stage – Nearly 100%. Cancer is found only in the prostate.
- Regional stage – Nearly 100%. Cancer has spread to nearby areas.
- Distant stage – Approximately 29%. Cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes, bones and other organs.
Depending on the stage of cancer, your doctor will take a different approach to treatment. At RCCA, we create individualized treatment plans that combine therapies and drugs, such as:
- Targeted therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Clinical trials
- Genetic testing
- Palliative care
- Integrative care
- Hormone therapy
- Vaccine treatment
- Bone-directed treatment
For some men with low-risk prostate cancer, we may recommend active surveillance. We’ll continue to monitor your health and perform exams, blood tests and biopsies as necessary to determine if or when treatment should be pursued.
Turn to RCCA
After a prostate cancer diagnosis, it’s important to find skilled and experienced cancer physicians who are committed to your health and will provide the highest-quality care to help meet your individual needs. It’s all a part of our patient-centered approach to treating the whole person. Plus, with over 30 offices throughout the Northeast, you’ll be able to receive the care you need at a location that’s convenient for you.
Contact RCCA today at 844-346-7222 to schedule an appointment with our highly specialized team of oncologists, and give yourself the best fighting chance against prostate cancer.