Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
Prostate Cancer Screening & Prostate Biopsy
Grading and Staging of Prostate Cancer
Treatment Options for Early Stage Prostate Cancer
Treatment Options for Advanced Stage Prostate Cancer
What is the Prostate?
The prostate gland, a key part of the male reproductive system, is intimately involved with the urinary system. It is a small gland that secretes much of the liquid portion of semen, the milky fluid that transports sperm through the penis during ejaculation.
The prostate is located just beneath the bladder, where urine is stored, and in front of the rectum. It encircles a part of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out through the penis. During ejaculation, semen is secreted by the prostate through small pores of the urethra's walls. The prostate is flanked on either side by the seminal vesicles, a pair of pouch-like glands that contribute secretions to the semen.
Risk factors for developing prostate cancer are multi-factorial and include genetic predispositions as well as environmental, infectious, and dietary exposures.
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Prostate cancer is the leading cancer affecting men in the United States. Approximately, 200,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year alone.
Prostate cancer typically does not have symptoms in it’s earliest stages. However, if present, they may include difficulty with urination, frequent or painful urination, blood in the urine or ejaculate, or pain in the hips or lower back.
Fortunately, if diagnosed within the early phase of disease, prostate cancer can be curable. For this reason, men are encouraged to undergo screening including having rectal examinations and blood tests (PSA testing). We recommend that men in their 40s start this screening process. Prostate cancer screening is very easy to perform and can detect men with prostate cancer while the disease is still in its early stage of development and therefore, highly curable.
Men who either have abnormal PSA levels for their age or abnormal digital rectal examination findings undergo biopsy of their prostate. This is a simple, outpatient procedure which helps us detect if patients have prostate cancer.
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Patients Who Are Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer
If a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, we first determine if the disease is in the early stage disease (still localized to the prostate) or if the disease has spread elsewhere (advanced disease). We make this determination by using many clinical factors such as:
1) PSA value.
2) How the prostate feels on digital rectal examination.
3) Gleason grade of their cancer (Gleason grade determines the aggressiveness of prostate cancer).
4) Amount of cancer detected on the biopsy specimen.
5) Number of different areas within the prostate where cancer is detected.
For some patients, we may use additional imaging modalities such as CT scans, MRIs, and/or bone scans to gather more information in regards to the state of their cancer.
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Based on this information, a patient is determined to have either Early Stage Disease or Advanced Stage Disease.