Share The Health

Prostate Cancer Awareness

08-31-2020

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, aside from skin cancer. Approximately 13 out of every 100 men in the US will get prostate cancer during their lifetime, and about two to three out of every 100 men will die from this disease. However, most prostate cancers grow slowly, and many men might not notice any symptoms at all.

What is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland surrounding the urethra. It’s just below the bladder and in front of the rectum, and it produces a fluid that makes up a part of semen. As men age, the prostate typically increases in size, which can cause the urethra to narrow and decrease the flow of urine. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and it is not the same as prostate cancer. When cancer begins in the prostate, it is considered to be prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of prostate cancer differ from person to person. Some men may experience no symptoms at all.

Prostate cancer symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • Weak, dribbling, or interrupted urine flow
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Persistent back, hip, or pelvis pain

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms further. Your doctor might refer you to a urologist to determine whether your symptoms are from prostate cancer, BPH, or another issue. Keep in mind that these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer, but it’s important to always talk to your doctor about any worrying medical concerns so you can begin treatment.

Am I at Risk?

All men are at risk for prostate cancer, but the severity of the risk depends on a few different factors. The most significant risk factor is age; the older a man is, the more likely his chance of getting prostate cancer. Black men and those with a family history of prostate cancer also have an increased risk of the disease.

Black men are more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than white men. They also have a higher risk of getting prostate cancer at a younger age, tend to have a more advanced stage of the disease when it’s discovered, and tend to have a more severe type of prostate cancer than other men.

Those who have a father, brother, or son who had prostate cancer have an increased risk of the disease. Additionally, men with three or more first-degree relatives or two close relatives on the same side of the family who have had prostate cancer may have an inherited, genetic form of prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer Treatment

Frederick Health offers exceptional prostate and urological cancer services. Understanding your diagnosis and your treatment options is the first step in fighting prostate cancer, and Frederick Health is committed to providing you with cancer treatment focused on you as an individual.

Most commonly, prostate cancer treatment involves removing the prostate via surgery, as well as radiation therapy. While these treatments help remove the cancer, they can also cause side effects like loss of bladder control, erectile dysfunction, and bowel problems. Pelvic floor physical therapy can be beneficial in helping patients who experience these symptoms after being treated for prostate cancer.

The Frederick Health Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab Crestwood Clinic offers a Pelvic Health Program with therapists trained in the evaluation and treatment of these conditions.

“Too often, men do not seek help or advice for symptoms such as pelvic weakness, pelvic pain, and incontinence because these topics seem embarrassing,” says Ann Hightower. “With an individualized treatment plan through the Pelvic Health Program, patients will come to know comfort and relief from the problems that they may face.”

Other patients may need chemotherapy, using special drugs to shrink or kill the cancer; cryotherapy, freezing and killing cancer cells; biological therapy, using the body’s immune system to fight the cancer; high-intensity focused ultrasound, sending sound waves to kill the cancer cells; or hormone therapy, blocking cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.

Another treatment option available at Frederick Health is CyberKnife. This targeted treatment delivers beams of high-dose radiation with exceptional accuracy, targeting only the affected areas. In many cases, the results are equal to—or better than—traditional surgery. In many cases, these treatments can be more effective than conventional radiation.

CyberKnife treatment can be completed in just one to five days, compared to the weeks it takes for conventional radiation therapy. There’s no surgery, few if any symptoms, no pain, and no recovery time. Plus, it’s non-invasive, and no anesthesia is required.

Prostate Cancer Prevention

There are a few ways to reduce your risk of prostate cancer:

  • Eat a low-fat diet. Some studies have shown that men who eat a high-fat diet have an increased risk of prostate cancer.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies. Produce is full of nutrients that could reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Also, filling up on fruits and vegetables leaves you less hungry for unhealthy foods.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obese men may have an increased risk of prostate cancer. If you’re overweight or obese, reduce the number of calories you eat and increase the amount of exercise you do each day.
  • Stay connected with your doctor. If you think you have a high risk of developing prostate cancer, talk to your doctor. They can help you determine your risk factors and make a prevention plan.

Screening can help catch prostate cancer early, which can lead to better treatment outcomes. You should begin getting screened as soon as age 40 if you have a family history, but screening can start at age 50 if you’re at average risk. Men ages 55-69 at average risk of the disease should talk to their doctor about whether they should be screened.

Screening can help find prostate cancers at high risk of spreading, which can lower the chance of dying from the disease. For every 1,000 men between 55 and 69 who get screened, about one death will be prevented, and three men will be prevented from getting prostate cancer that spreads to other parts of the body. Many men with this type of cancer don’t experience any symptoms, and without screening, they would not know they had the disease.

However, screening can also produce false positives. A biopsy of the prostate is the only way to confirm cancer after an abnormal test. If the biopsy shows cancer cells, your doctor will begin to discuss treatment options with you.

Like with any other medical issue, it’s crucial to see your doctor if you think you have any symptoms of prostate cancer. Even if prostate cancer isn’t detected during your screening, your doctor may be able to determine possible other conditions that are causing your symptoms.