Cancer is unfortunately still one of the leading causes of death in the western world, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018 of which 1.28 million were from prostate cancer. However, the slow growth rate of this type of cancer makes it in most cases a highly manageable illness.
The diagnosis of prostate cancer is made by your urologist who found malignant cells in your prostate gland. Your prostate is walnut-shaped and part of the male reproductive gland just below the bladder and controls the flow of semen. With early diagnosis, most men with this type of cancer can live for years with no problems.
What causes prostate cancer?
As with many cancers, the causes of prostate cancer are not exactly known, although they are discovered more frequently in men who are older (above 70) or have a family history of the disease. The male sex hormone testosterone also contributes to the cancer’s growth.
While the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is high, it is in most cases a slow growing cancer that does not always need immediate treatment.
Survival rates after diagnosis of regional prostate cancer, this means not spread outside of the prostate, are high:
Can prostate cancer be found through early screening?
There are some symptoms that are important to share with your doctor, the most important are:
– difficulty urinating or if your urine stream is getting less
– blood in your semen or urine
– erectile dysfunction
– pain and discomfort in your pelvic area
These symptoms can be caused by other (prostate) related issues, like for example prostatitis or a hypertrophic prostate, but it is always good to discuss any abnormalities with a medical professional.
Prostate cancer can often be found before symptoms start by testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a man’s blood or by the digital rectal exam, in which the doctor puts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate gland. There is no question that screening can help find many prostate cancers early, but there are still questions about whether the benefits of screening and early detection outweighs the downside of being aware you have a cancer that might not need treatment and will cause a lot of stress for most men. There are clearly both pros and cons to the prostate cancer screening tests.
Currently, the American Cancer Society recommends that men thinking about getting screened for prostate cancer “should make informed decisions based on available information, discussion with their doctor, and their own views on the possible benefits, risks, and limits of prostate cancer screening.”
If you are facing cancer, getting a second opinion from an expert physician can be one of the most important decisions you will ever make. The Expert Medical Opinion of the Best Doctors service provides in-depth case reviews and medical advice from the world’s leading medical experts and oncologists to ensure that members like you are getting the peace of mind you deserve to make informed medical decisions.
If you have more general questions about men’s health or specific complaints you are having, members of Foyer Global Health have unlimited 24/7 access to telemedicine, at no additional cost.