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» Prostate cancer

  • Prostate cancer – its detection, prevention and treatment
    By Health Blog on May 3, 2010 | No Comments  Comments

    Prostate cancer is the most common cancer (other than skin cancer) and the second leading cause of cancer death. The prostate gland is walnut-sized and is located in front of the rectum, behind the penis, and under the bladder. It contains cells that produce seminal fluid, which protects and nourishes sperm cells in semen. Most prostate cancers grow very slowly, but when they spread, they can do so quickly. Most early cases of prostate cancer cause no symptoms, but some early signs may be frequent urination, especially at night; blood in urine; difficulty starting urination or inability to urinate; and weak or painful urination. However, these symptoms may be signs of other conditions. Men who experience these symptoms should see a doctor.

    Prostate cancer

    Prostate cancer

    Detection: At this time, there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine prostate cancer screening for average-risk men. Health care professionals discuss the potential benefits and limitations of prostate cancer early detection testing with average-risk men beginning at age 50, to decide if testing is right for them. Men at higher risk, with a first-degree relative with prostate cancer, should have this conversation with their doctor beginning at age 45. Men at even higher risk should have this discussion with their doctor at age 40. If a man chooses to be tested, the two recommended tests are the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal exam (DRE).

    Prevention: Although the causes of prostate cancer are not yet completely understood, researchers have found several factors that increase the risk of developing the disease. Many risk factors, such as a man’s age, race, and family history, are beyond his control, but since high-fat diets have been linked to prostate cancer, eating a diet that is low in saturated fat and red meats may help reduce a man’s risk for developing the disease. A diet that is high in fruits and vegetables may also help prevent prostate cancer.

    Treatment: If prostate cancer is found early, treatment with curative intent is often initiated. Such treatment usually consists of either radical surgical removal of the prostate gland or radiation treatment (of which there are multiple forms). If the cancer is believed to be slow growing and is not causing symptoms, “watchful waiting” may be chosen initially, especially for older men. Active treatment will be started later if the cancer begins to grow more quickly or symptoms appear. For cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland, treatments such as hormone therapy and/or chemotherapy may be recommended. Each of the surgical and nonsurgical treatments has side effects that should be considered when deciding how to proceed.

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