About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, but only one man in 34 will die of the disease. The prostate gland is located directly beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. The main job of the prostate gland is to make seminal fluid, the milky substance that transports sperm.
The male hormone testosterone contributes to the growth of cancer. Prostate cancer is characterized by 'grade' and 'stage'; grade is given to indicate how quickly a cancer is growing -- the higher the grade, the more likely it is that the cancer will grow and spread rapidly and the size and extent of the tumor will determine its stage. Detected in its early stages, it cancer can be effectively treated and cured.
There are several symptoms to be aware of. If you have one or more prostate cancer symptoms, you should see a qualified doctor as soon as possible. Blood in the urine or semen and frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs are often symptoms of cancer. Other symptoms might include unintentional weight loss and lethargy. Another symptom is difficulty starting urination or holding back urine. One symptom is a need to urinate frequently, especially at night.
There are several potential downsides to PSA testing; for example a high PSA does not always mean a patient has prostate cancer. What is called a free PSA may help tell the difference between BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy), an enlargement of the prostate gland, and prostate cancer. A PSA test with a high level can also be from a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.
Urine or prostatic fluid cytology may reveal unusual cells. One downside to PSA testing is that health care providers are detecting and treating some very early-stage cancers that may never have caused the patient any harm. The decision about whether to pursue a PSA test should be based on a discussion between you and your doctor. Surgery, radiation, hormonal therapy and chemotherapy all have significant side effects; know fully what they are before you proceed.
Since prostate tumors require testosterone to grow, reducing the testosterone level is used to prevent further growth and spread of the cancer. Be aware that some men choose natural treatment options and forgo any surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. Whether undergoing radiation is as good as prostate removal is debatable and the decision about which to choose, if any, can be difficult. Chemotherapy medications are often used to treat hormonal cancers that are resistant to hormonal treatments.
Surgery is usually only recommended after thorough evaluation and discussion of all available treatment options. Other medications used for hormonal therapy, with side effects, include androgen-blocking agents, which prevent testosterone from attaching to prostate cells. The approaches to treatment include: ever watchful waiting to see whether the cancer is growing slowly and not causing any symptoms. Radiation therapy is used primarily to treat prostate cancers classified as stages A, B, or C.
In patients whose health makes the risk of surgery unacceptably high, radiation therapy is often the chosen conventional alternative. Anyone considering surgery should be aware of the benefits, risks and the extent of the procedure. Hormone manipulation is mainly used as a treatment to relieve symptoms in men whose cancer has spread.
If chemotherapy is decided upon after the first round of chemotherapy, most men receive further doses on an outpatient basis at a clinic or physician's office. Some drugs with numerous side effects are being used to treat advanced prostate cancer, blocking the production of testosterone, called chemical castration; it has the same result as surgical removal of the testes. If you've already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, pick the option that's best suited to you and your continuing good health.
Just about all men with prostate cancer survive at least five years after their diagnosis, 93% survive at least 10 years, and 67% survive more than 15 years. In the end, only you with the help of your doctors, knowing your individual situation, can determine the best treatment program for you.
For more information on prostate cancer treatments and prostate cancer symptoms go to http://www.BestProstateHealthTips.com Helen Hecker R.N.'s website specializing in prostate and prostate cancer tips, advice and resources, including information on prostate tests and natural prostate cancer treatments