Prostate Cancer

Texas Urology Specialists diagnoses and treats prostate cancer, the most common cancer found in men.

The prostate is an accessory sex gland the size of a walnut and sits below the bladder surrounding the urine tube. It contributes about 50 percent of the ejaculate and has a role in nourishing the sperm. Cancer in the prostate occurs when normal cells change to malignant cells. It is known as a silent killer because men often do not have symptoms in early stages.

Prostate cancer is usually a slow-growing cancer that is found primarily in older men. It is usually a slow-growing cancer that is found primarily in older men. However, some prostate cancers are more aggressive and may afflict much younger men. Men with a family history of prostate cancer as well as African-American men have an increased risk for the disease.

  • One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.
  • One in 38 men will die from the disease, making it the second most common cause of cancer death in men.
  • In 2016, an estimated 180,890 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, with 26,129 deaths.
  • In Texas, it is estimated that 15,020 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in 2015, and an estimated 1,570 men died from the disease.

Early detection is critical to survival and if prostate cancer is detected early and before the cancer spreads, patients have a nearly 100 percent chance of survival after five years. With early diagnosis and treatment improvements over the past 25 years, survival rates have increased dramatically for all stages of prostate cancer.

Risk Factors

Men should be aware of factors that put them at higher risk for developing prostate cancer.

  • Age: Men age 65 and older account for about 60 percent of all prostate cancer cases diagnosed.
  • Family History: Men with close relatives (father or brother) who have had prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease.
  • Race: African Americans have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the United States and are twice as likely to die from the disease as Caucasians.
  • Genetic Factors: A gene mutation on BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 or having Lynch syndrome may denote an increased risk, but it is only a small percentage of cases.
  • Diet: Men who consume high amounts of red meat or dairy products and few fruits and vegetables have a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of prostate cancer could be linked to other health conditions. If these symptoms are present, men are encouraged to consult their physician for proper testing. Symptoms include:

  • Weak or interrupted urine flow
  • Difficulty controlling urination
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in spine, hips, ribs, upper thighs, and other bones
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficulty having an erection
  • Weakness or numbness in legs or feet

Screening and Detection

It’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening with a physician to make an informed decision about testing. Most men should consider yearly prostate screenings beginning at age 50. Men at high risk (African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer before age 65) should consider testing beginning at age 45. Consider screening at age 40 if more than one first-degree relative is diagnosed before 65.

A thorough history and physical examination, PSA test, and digital rectal exam (DRE) are key in detecting prostate cancer. When the PSA or the digital rectal exam is abnormal, a prostate biopsy may be needed to rule out prostate cancer. An ultrasound probe is placed in the rectum and small amounts of tissue are sampled. The pathologist can then make the proper diagnosis. If prostate cancer is identified, the patient undergoes staging evaluation with blood work and X-rays and discusses treatment options with his physician.

Treatment Options

Prostate cancer may be treated by different members of the cancer care team. Treatment options vary depending on how advanced the cancer is and if it has spread to other body parts. Physicians will determine the most appropriate treatment for each patient.

Prostate Treatment Options

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