What is the prostate?
- A male sex gland
- The size of a walnut below the bladder and in front of the rectum
- Produces the fluid that is part of semen
What Goes Wrong?
- Three main types of problems -- infection, enlargement, and cancer -- can afflict the prostate.
- Prostate infections, called prostatitis, are fairly common in men from the teen years on. These infections can be brief or long-lasting, mild or severe, easy or difficult to treat with antibiotics. Symptoms of prostatitis can include frequent and/or painful urination, other urinary difficulties, or pain during sex
- Prostate enlargement, called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH for short, is an unwanted but non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. Although men in their twenties can suffer from BPH, it usually surfaces later in life. It's estimated that half of all men have BPH by the age of 60, and 90% will suffer from it by age 85
- Prostate cancer: Cells normally divide when new cells are needed. But sometimes cells divide for no reason, creating a mass of tissue called a tumor. Prostate cancer is a malignant tumor that usually begins in the outer part of the prostate. In most men, the cancer grows very slowly.
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
Age – Found mainly in men over age 55. Average age of diagnosis is 70
Family History – Men’s risk is higher if father or brother is diagnosed before the age of 60
Race – Prostate cancer is found more often in African American men then White men. It is less common in Asian and American Indian men
Dietary factors – Evidence suggests that a diet high in fat may increase the risk of prostate cancer and diets high in fruits and vegetables decrease the risk
Recommendations for Screening
- The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and the digital rectal exam (DRE) should begin at the age of 50
- African Americans and men who have first degree relatives diagnosed before the age of 60 should start at 45 years old
- Screening for Prostate Cancer
- Prostate-Specific Antigen Blood Test (PSA) – Measures substance made by the prostate gland
- Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) – Physical exam of the Prostate Gland
- Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS) –Uses sound waves to make an image of the prostate on a video screen
- PSA levels under 4 ng/ml are considered normal, Just to be safe, if your level is 3 ng/ml or higher, or the level increases from one test to the other you should discuss the results with your physician.
- After a DRE your doctor will discuss the test results with you. If they detect a suspicious lump or area during the exam, an ultrasound or biopsy may be recommended.
- If any results come back abnormal, or you do not understand them contact your urologist for further information.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
- Frequent urination
- Inability to urinate
- Trouble starting and stopping urination
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Painful ejaculation
- Painful or burning urination
Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer
- Confirmed only by an biopsy taken from part of the prostate
- Pathologists then grade the biopsy to give likely hood of cancerous tissue
- Then pathologists can tell what stage the cancer is in, 4 stages in all
Procedures for Prostate Cancer
- Radical Prostatectomy – Removal of entire prostate gland and nerves
- Radiation Therapy – High-energy rays to kill or shrink cancer cells
- Expectant Therapy – Regularly scheduled screenings
- Transurethral Resection of the Prostate – Partial removal of tissue from the prostate
- Brachytherapy – confined dosage of radioactive seeds inserted directly into the prostate while minimizing healthy tissue damage
- Cryosurgery – freezes abnormal cells of the prostate with a metal probe
- Hormone Therapy – Decreases the androgen (testosterone) levels in the body
- Chemotherapy – Anticancer drugs injected into a vein or taken by mouth
Side Effects of Treatments
- Impotence – Could last for 3 months or longer
- Incontinence – Loss of bladder control or dribbling
- Bowel problems - Burning and rectal pain and/or diarrhea
Risk for Developing Prostate Cancer
What’s the Outlook
While the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer remains high, survival rates are also improving. Almost 89% of men diagnosed with the disease will survive at least five years, while 63% will survive 10 years or longer. The increased number of treatment options make this possible