Discovery and Treatment of Prostate Cancer
As men get older, some of them are going to get prostate cancer. Being able to recognize it early is important because it can become fatal. It is important to be able to recognize early symptoms, as well as seeing a doctor for prompt diagnosis.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Symptoms in prostate cancer are not always evident. This means a doctor may discover problems when going for an ordinary medical exam, and a prostate exam is performed. Some prostate cancer symptoms may include:
- Frequent nighttime urination.
- Difficulty in starting or holding urine back.
- Pain during urination.
- Blood in urine or in semen.
- Difficulty in getting an erection.
- Painful ejaculation.
- Low back pain.
Prostate cancer is typically a problem in men over 50. As many as six out of ten cases of prostate cancer occur in men who are over 65. For this reason, men who are of prostate cancer age should get a prostate exam regularly.
Prostate Cancer Staging
The presence of prostate cancer may become an issue when a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test rises above a normal level. When prostate cancer is diagnosed, usually by a biopsy, but an MRI, or CT scan may also be used, a stage will be assigned to it. There are four stages of this cancer:
- Stage I – Cancer is only in the prostate.
- Stage II – Cancer is still in the prostate, small, but more abnormal, and may spread faster.
- Stage III – The cancer has spread beyond the prostate.
- Stage IV – Tumors are present in other parts of the body.
A Gleason score will also be assigned which indicates the results of a biopsy. Scores range from 1 – 10, with 1-5 being not serious. Starting with a score of 6, which is considered low risk, the score means watching is necessary, and a score of 10 is the worst, and treatment is needed immediately.
Prostate Cancer Treatment
Once prostate cancer has been diagnosed, a treatment option will need to be decided upon. There are several options for prostate cancer treatment, including:
- Watchful Waiting – Cancer believed to be growing very slowly, treatment not needed immediately.
- Surgery – Prostate cancer surgery (called radical prostatectomy) will usually remove the entire prostate and possibly some lymph nodes.
- External Beam Radiation – Multiple radiation treatments.
- Brachytherapy – Radioactive pellets permanently inserted into prostate.
- Hormone therapy – Usually given only in more advanced stages because of belief that some cancers feed off of testosterone.
- Multiple treatments – In more advanced cases, more than one treatment may be applied.
Prostate cancer is serious and should not be taken lightly. With prompt prostate cancer treatment, men can become survivors.