A lot of men have questions about prostate health. Many know someone who suffers from prostate cancer or are worried that they might develop it. As experts in medical care, we want to help shed some light on prostate cancer, explain exactly what it is and help people understand what to expect both from the diagnosis and its treatment process.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Like all cancers, prostate cancer is an abnormal growth of cells. It occurs in the prostate gland, which helps men to produce seminal fluid. Symptoms vary, but often include pain or difficulty with urinating, pain in the pelvis and bloody urine.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Roughly one in nine men will suffer from it at some point during their lives. The majority of cases occur in older men, with about sixty percent of cases occurring in men who are at least 65 years old.
It does have the potential to be lethal, with roughly one out of every 41 cases being fatal. Men who catch the disease promptly and seek treatment have fairly good odds of survival. That is why we encourage all men to familiarize themselves with the treatment and screening options.
There are several ways to treat prostate cancer. They all have their own advantages and disadvantages, so doctors weigh the options based on the details of each unique case. The stage of the cancer is one of the most important, but the patient’s age and health history are also relevant to the treatment options available.
The first option is active surveillance. Doctors simply keep an eye on the cancer with regular testing and examinations instead of trying to remove it. This is a good option for minor cases that aren’t causing any symptoms and are unlikely to turn into a larger problem.
Many cancers do require stronger intervention. Surgery is a common choice in those cases. The doctor removes the prostate gland and some of the tissue surrounding it to get rid of the cancer. Other situations might call for killing the cancer cells with radiation.
More extreme cases can call for other options. For example, it is possible to use hormone therapy that reduces testosterone production to stop cancer cells from growing. Doctors can also freeze cells to kill them or use chemotherapy or even biological therapy techniques.
The Recovery Process
The immediate treatment is only the first step towards recovery. Doctors can provide care plans that guide patients and their loved ones throughout the whole process.
Most people will also need to take some time to recover from the treatment. There may also be side effects that need treatment, such as pain and discomfort or difficulty urinating. While some will only last for a little while, others will need ongoing care and specialized treatment.
Most patients will also need follow-up appointments to make sure that they are healthy. There is always a small chance that some of the cancer survives treatment or that it may return, so it is vital to watch for signs or any returning symptoms. Lifestyle changes, such as changing one’s level of activity or diet, are common prevention method for returning issues, but for some the return of cancer cells are unpreventable and will require more intense methods of treatment.
Prostate cancer is a serious issue that, if not treated properly or cared for, can lead to complications or, in a number of more serious cases, death. Regular checkups can help to identify issues before they become problematic and are strongly recommended for men 35 and older. If you have concerns about your prostate health, contact your doctor or a licensed medical professional for more information.