1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
“We know that prostate cancer is a very common disease—the most common in men,” says William K. Oh, MD, chief of hematology and medical oncology at Mount Sinai Health System. Even though prostate cancer is very common, it most often occurs in men older than 50, and most men do not die from it. That’s because prostate cancer grows very slowly.
“We don’t know what causes it, but we know that this prostate organ can get cancerous as men get older,” says Dr. Oh. The prostate is a gland that makes fluid that’s part of semen. It’s below the bladder and forms a ring around the urethra (where urine comes out). Prostate cancer happens when normal cells in the prostate gland become abnormal and then grow out of control.
Can Prostate Cancer Be Caught Early?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any early warning signs for prostate cancer. The growing tumor doesn’t push against anything thing the body (which is often the cause of symptoms or pain), so the disease can be silent for many years.
If prostate cancer does cause symptoms, a person might:
Need to urinate more often than usual
Or have a urine stream that is slower than usual
The good news is, prostate cancer can often be found with a screening test before symptoms start. Doctors look for prostate cancer by testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a man’s blood. Doctors may also conduct a digital rectal exam (DRE), in which the doctor puts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate gland for any masses.
Even though prostate cancer can be found early with a screening, regular screenings may not be necessary—or recommended—for some men. It’s wise for men to make the decision to get screened after having a discussion with their doctor about the benefits, risks, and limits of prostate cancer screening.
How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed and Treated?
If a doctor suspects prostate cancer, he or she may follow up with more diagnostic tests, such as a(n):
Biopsy. A doctor takes a small tissue sample from the prostate to examine under a microscope for cancer.
Ultrasound, MRI scan, or other imaging tests. These tests show images of the body and can show abnormal growths.
If prostate cancer is confirmed, then treatment options will be discussed. Men often have a choice of treatment. The main types of prostate cancer treatment are:
Active surveillance. The patient and medical team will watch and wait on treatment to see if the cancer grows more quickly.
Surgery to remove the prostate gland.
Radiation therapy to kill cancer cells.
Hormone therapy. Hormones help prostate cancer grow. This therapy reduces the levels of hormones which can shrink the cancer.
Chemotherapy, which is medicine that kills cancer cells and stops them from growing.
“In most situations, the goal, as with all cancers, is to cure the cancer, to eradicate it,” says Dr. Oh. “It is absolutely possible in patients with prostate cancer to cure it.”
Dr. Oh is the chief of hematology and oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital, specializing in the management of prostate, renal, bladder, and testicular cancers. He is also the deputy director of The Tisch Cancer Institute of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
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We know that prostate cancer
is a very common disease,
00:00:04,088 --> 00:00:05,415
the most common cancer in men.
00:00:05,415 --> 00:00:07,264
We don't know what causes it, but
00:00:07,264 --> 00:00:11,179
we know that this prostate organ
can get cancerous as men get older.
00:00:11,179 --> 00:00:13,095
Sometimes that can be very dangerous.
00:00:13,095 --> 00:00:15,792
Sometimes however it may grow very,
very slowly and
00:00:15,792 --> 00:00:17,518
may not need to be treated at all.
00:00:17,518 --> 00:00:21,820
00:00:21,820 --> 00:00:24,506
Prostate cancer is definitely
a disease of aging.
00:00:24,506 --> 00:00:28,061
So we know that it's something that
becomes much more common as man get
00:00:28,061 --> 00:00:30,178
older into their 60s, 70s, 80s.
00:00:30,178 --> 00:00:33,317
It's very uncommon in men in their 30s for
00:00:33,317 --> 00:00:36,994
The most common symptom of prostate
cancer is no symptom at all.
00:00:36,994 --> 00:00:41,505
In fact, most of the time when we diagnose
prostate cancer it's because a blood test,
00:00:41,505 --> 00:00:43,231
a PSA blood test, is abnormal.
00:00:43,231 --> 00:00:45,667
However, as the cancer
does become more advanced,
00:00:45,667 --> 00:00:48,806
patients may have urinary blockage or
bleeding in their urine.
00:00:48,806 --> 00:00:51,933
They may also,
if they present at a very advanced age,
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may have cancer in their bones and present
with pain or other symptoms like that.
00:00:56,204 --> 00:01:00,494
But in general, the most common
symptom of prostate cancer is
00:01:00,494 --> 00:01:03,407
urinary outflow obstruction or
blockage of urine.
00:01:03,407 --> 00:01:06,584
But the problem is that a lot of men have
this as they get older just because their
00:01:06,584 --> 00:01:07,798
prostate is getting larger.
00:01:07,798 --> 00:01:09,681
Sometimes that could be from cancer.
00:01:09,681 --> 00:01:13,147
So if there's an acute change
in your urinary symptoms,
00:01:13,147 --> 00:01:15,974
you should see a doctor
to be evaluated for it.
00:01:15,974 --> 00:01:19,166
Ultimately, the goal of any cancer
treatment is to cure the patient of
00:01:19,166 --> 00:01:19,878
00:01:19,878 --> 00:01:24,433
Prostate cancer is a little unusual in
that because it's occurring in older men,
00:01:24,433 --> 00:01:28,989
and because some of these cancers may not
be ultimately dangerous to that person
00:01:28,989 --> 00:01:32,685
during his lifetime, one of the choices
is not to treat it at all and
00:01:32,685 --> 00:01:33,698
just to monitor.
00:01:33,698 --> 00:01:38,391
However in most situations, the goal as
with all cancers is to cure the cancer,
00:01:38,391 --> 00:01:39,451
to eradicate it.
00:01:39,451 --> 00:01:44,154
And it is absolutely possible in many
patients with prostate cancer to cure it.
00:01:44,154 --> 00:01:48,371
Patient education: Prostate cancer (The Basics). UpToDate. (Accessed on August 13, 2019 athttps://www.uptodate.com/contents/prostate-cancer-the-basics)
Can Prostate Cancer Be Found Early? American Cancer Society. (Accessed on August 13, 2019 athttps://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/detection.html)