According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime and approximately 6 in 10 cases are diagnosed in men age 65 and older. The prostate, located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, typically becomes larger as a man ages. Cancer of the prostate is the result of cells in the prostate gland that start to grow uncontrollably.
“Prostate cancer is a serious diagnosis but rarely results in death. That being said, early detection and treatment are important and can have an impact on quality of life,” said Dr. Justin Kropf, a Maury Regional Medical Group physician specializing in urology.
Screening for prostate cancer may include a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and/or digital rectal exam. The age at which a man should be screened will vary based on risk factors. For men at average risk, the age is 50; however, men at higher risk (family history, ethnicity) may need screening at a younger age. Men at moderate risk with a PSA level higher than 4 are at greater risk for prostate cancer; however, non-cancerous conditions may also affect PSA levels so it is important to discuss your risk factors and lifestyle with your physician.
If prostate cancer is diagnosed, you and your physician will discuss staging and treatment options. Staging determines how much cancer is in the body and if it has spread. Stages are I, II, III and IV, with the highest stage indicating that the cancer has spread beyond the prostate to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Depending upon the stage, treatment may include surgical removal of the prostate, radiation therapy (external beam or seed implant), chemotherapy or hormone therapy. Talk to your physician about your treatment options and the associated side effects of each.
For more detailed information, visit the American Cancer Society website at Cancer.org or make an appointment with a urology specialist.