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Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 234,460 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2006. About 27,350 men will die of this disease. Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in men, after lung cancer and colorectal cancer. While 1 man in 6 will get prostate cancer during his lifetime, only 1 man in 34 will die of this disease. The death rate for prostate cancer is going down. And the disease is being found earlier as well.
Q. How does prostate cancer compare with other cancers?
A. . A non-smoking man is more likely to develop prostate cancer than he is to develop lung/bronchus, colon, rectal, bladder, melanoma, lymphoma and kidney cancers combined. In fact, a man is 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than a woman is to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Q. What are the risk factors?
A. Here are some of the factors that can contribute to an increased risk of getting prostate cancer:
- Age: A majority of the men diagnosed with prostate cancer are over the age of 65.
- Race: African American men are 61% more likely to develop prostate cancer.
- Family History: Men with a single first degree relative that has prostate cancer is twice as likely to get it.
- Diet and Lifestyle: Studies have shown that a change in diet can help decrease the chances of developing prostate cancer.
Q. What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
A. In the earliest stages most men will not experience any symptoms. Some men may experience:
- frequent urination
- hesitant urination
- burning urination
- difficulty in having an erection
- stiffness and pain in the lower back, hips or upper thigh
Q. How is prostate cancer detected?
A. The American Cancer Society recommends that all men over 40 should have a digital rectal exam as part of their regular annual physical check up. In addition, men age 50 and over are recommended to have a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test done annually.
Q. How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
A. An increased level of PSA in your blood may be a sign of prostate cancer. However, this test does not have the specificity for separating patients with prostate cancer from those with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Your physician may require a biopsy if the initial test results are indicative of cancer. Prostate biopsy is the main way to diagnose prostate cancer
Q. How is prostate cancer treated?
A. There are wide varieties of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer, including surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy, any or all of which might be used at different times depending on the stage of disease and the need for treatment. Thus, it becomes important for you to discuss thoroughly the options with your doctor regarding an effective treatment plan specifically designed for you.
This report is intended for patient education and information only. It does not constitute advice, nor should it be taken to suggest or replace professional medical care from your physician. Your treatment options may vary, depending upon medical history and current condition. Only your physician and you can determine your best option.