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Prostate Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment in Lafayette
The prostate is a gland that is only found in men that is used to assist in reproduction and sperm cell growth and production. It grows during puberty due to the rapid increase in male hormones and can sometimes slightly grow with age, but mostly stays about the size of a walnut.
Prostate Cancer Overview
The most common type of prostate cancer is adenocarcinoma, which is cancer that starts in the gland cells. There are other, more rare types of prostate cancer such as small cell carcinoma, sarcomas and neuroendocrine tumors, but most of the time a prostate cancer patient suffers from adenocarcinoma.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men. Approximately 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the U.S. Luckily, 5-year survival of prostate cancer is up to over 99% and deaths have reduced greatly due to overall awareness and advancements with treatment.
Prostate Cancer Signs and Diagnosis
Many patients don't experience any symptoms, especially in early stages. More severe prostate cancer patients can experience:
Blood in the urine
Pain in the spine or hips
Some of these symptoms can also just be symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), so it's really hard to detect. Therefore, it's extremely important to get screened by either digital rectal exam (DRE) or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
PSA – This method is usually for men in early stages without symptoms and is the first test done most of the time.
DRE – In this method, the doctor will probe for lumps on the prostate with a lubricated glove. If you do have prostate cancer, this way is good to detect which side the cancer may be on, rather than just knowing whether you have cancer or not.
There are a few other less common ways to diagnose prostate cancer, so check with your doctor to see what might be appropriate for your case.
Diagnostic Testing for Prostate Cancer
These tests can't always be conclusive, and diagnostic testing may be necessary
MRI scans can help determine if the cancer has spread outside the prostate into the seminal vesicles or other nearby structures. This can be very important in determining your treatment options. MRI scans aren’t usually needed for newly diagnosed prostate cancers that are likely to be confined to the prostate, and is mainly used to see how the cancer is spreading.
Like MRI's, CT scans isn’t often needed for newly diagnosed prostate cancer if the cancer is likely to be confined to the prostate based on other findings from your DRE or PSA tests. Still, it can sometimes help tell if prostate cancer has spread into nearby lymph nodes. If your prostate cancer has come back after treatment, the CT scan can often tell if it is growing into other organs or structures in your pelvis.
Read more about prostate cancer imaging at cancer.org
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
The following risk factors can increase your chances of getting prostate cancer:
Age – Prostate cancer is most common in men after the age of 50, and 60% of cases are men over the age of 65. There's not a lot of reason to get examined before the age of 40-50.
Race – Prostate cancer is more prominent in African Americans
Family History – Some evidence suggests that prostate cancer may be a genetic factor and inherited. Having a direct relative with prostate cancer increases your risk
Diet – It's not a definitive factor, but some studies link men who eat a lot of red meat and high-dairy products and eat less fruits and vegetables have more of a risk to develop prostate cancer.
Treatment for Prostate Cancer
Once you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is important to work closely with [doctor] to go over your case and discuss the best treatment option for you. Some of those include:
Active surveillance to monitor cancer growth or lack thereof
Surgery to remove the cancerous cells
Cryotherapy for early stages
Bone-directed for cases where the cancer has spread to the bones
Treatment is done entirely on a case-by-case basis. Consult with your doctor after you're diagnosed to discuss what the best option may be. Prostate cancer can be easily treatable if detected early and avoided altogether if the right precautions are taking. Visit www.cancer.org for specific information on prostate cancer prevention on treatment