If you have prostate cancer, are concerned about getting it, or if you’re looking out for the health of someone you love, this article can help. In most men, prostate cancer grows very slowly: most men will never know they have the condition. Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages and is the most common cause of death from cancer in men over 75 years old.
Prostate cancer is normally a slow growth cancer that can take years before it becomes deadly. The most common cancer in American men, excluding skin cancer, is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the U.S.
Other symptoms might include unintentional weight loss and lethargy. Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease are bone pain or tenderness, and abdominal pain. One symptom is a need to urinate frequently, especially at night.
If cancer is caught at its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms. One prostate cancer symptom is difficulty starting urination or holding back urine. Weak or interrupted flow of urine and painful or burning urination can be symptoms to watch out for.
One downside to PSA testing is that health care providers are detecting and treating some very early-stage prostate cancers that may never have caused the patient any harm. A chest x-ray may be done to see if there’s a spread of cancer. What is called a free PSA may help tell the difference between BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy), an enlargement of the prostate gland, and prostate cancer.
A prostate biopsy usually confirms the diagnosis. The decision about whether to pursue a PSA test should be based on a discussion between you and your doctor. A bone scan can indicate whether the cancer has spread or not.
Hormone manipulation is mainly used as a treatment to relieve symptoms in men whose cancer has spread. Prostate cancer that has spread (metastasized) may be treated conventionally with drugs to reduce testosterone levels, surgery to remove the testes, chemotherapy or nothing at all. Anyone considering surgery should be aware of the benefits, risks and the extent of the procedure.
Urinary incontinence can be a possible complication of surgery. Some drugs with numerous side effects are being used to treat advanced prostate cancer, blocking the production of testosterone, called chemical castration; it has the same result as surgical removal of the testes. Thoroughly discuss your treatment options and concerns with your doctor and other health professionals; it never hurts to get a second or even third opinion or more if necessary.
Radiation therapy is used primarily to treat prostate cancers classified as stages A, B, or C. Impotence is a potential complication after the prostatectomy or after radiation therapy. Surgery is usually only recommended after thorough evaluation and discussion of all available treatment options.
Medications can have many side effects, including hot flashes and loss of sexual desire. Surgery, radiation, hormonal therapy and chemotherapy all have significant side effects; know fully what they are before you proceed. What you can do now is begin to understand what exactly your treatment options are and where you’re going to begin.
If chemotherapy is decided upon after the first round of chemotherapy, most men receive further doses on an outpatient basis at a clinic or physician’s office. Surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy can interfere with libido on a temporary or permanent basis.
The one thing that you should not do however is rely on any information obtained from the Internet to make your final decision. With the advent of PSA testing, most prostate cancers are now found before they cause any symptoms. In the end, only you with the help of your doctors, knowing your individual situation, can determine the best treatment program for you.