What Happens When Prostate Cancer Is Left Untreated
Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
While most men undergo some form of treatment for their prostate cancer, some men today choose to not be treated for their prostate cancer. Instead, they may choose to have their healthcare providers monitor their cancer.
Known as active surveillance, it is common when the cancer is expected to grow slowly based on biopsy results, confined to the prostate, not causing any symptoms, and/or small. In active surveillance, healthcare providers will initiate cancer treatment only if cancer starts growing.
Others men may choose to not undergo cancer treatment because of a short life expectancy or other serious medical problems. They may feel that the risks or side effects of cancer treatment outweigh their potential benefits.
This option is certainly OK and reasonable in the right circumstancesrequiring a careful and thoughtful discussion with your healthcare provider and family.
When Is A Psa Test Needed
If you are age 50 to 74, you should discuss the PSA test with your doctor. Ask about the possible risks and benefits.
Men under 50 or over 75 rarely need a PSA test, unless they have a high risk for prostate cancer.
- You are more likely to get prostate cancer if you have a family history of prostate cancer, especially in a close relative such as a parent or sibling.
- Your risks are higher if your relative got prostate cancer before age 60 or died from it before age 75. These early cancers are more likely to grow faster.
- If you have these risks, you may want to ask your doctor about getting the PSA test before age 50.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
Why Erectile Dysfunction May Result From Prostate Disease
In the past, it was thought that most cases of erectile dysfunction were psychological in origin, the result of such demons as performance anxiety or more generalized stress. While these factors can cause erectile dysfunction, doctors now think that 70% of the time the problem can be traced to a physical condition that restricts blood flow, hampers nerve functioning, or both. Such conditions include diabetes, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, vascular disease, and alcoholism.
However, some types of prostate disease and treatments may also be responsible.
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How Long Can You Live With Prostate Cancer With No Treatment
Studies have shown that between 86% and 98% of men with LPC do not die from their cancer in all age groups, the researchers wrote. In fact, more than 95% of patients with LPC live at least 10 years after their diagnosis, whereas only 25% of patients in this study expected to live more than 10 years.
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Gleason Score For Grading Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is also given a grade called a Gleason score. This score is based on how much the cancer looks like healthy tissue when viewed under a microscope. Less aggressive tumors generally look more like healthy tissue. Tumors that are more aggressive are likely to grow and spread to other parts of the body. They look less like healthy tissue.
The Gleason scoring system is the most common prostate cancer grading system used. The pathologist looks at how the cancer cells are arranged in the prostate and assigns a score on a scale of 3 to 5 from 2 different locations. Cancer cells that look similar to healthy cells receive a low score. Cancer cells that look less like healthy cells or look more aggressive receive a higher score. To assign the numbers, the pathologist determines the main pattern of cell growth, which is the area where the cancer is most obvious, and then looks for another area of growth. The doctor then gives each area a score from 3 to 5. The scores are added together to come up with an overall score between 6 and 10.
Gleason scores of 5 or lower are not used. The lowest Gleason score is 6, which is a low-grade cancer. A Gleason score of 7 is a medium-grade cancer, and a score of 8, 9, or 10 is a high-grade cancer. A lower-grade cancer grows more slowly and is less likely to spread than a high-grade cancer.
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Can Anything Be Done For Erectile Dysfunction Caused By Prostate Cancer Treatment
Yes, there are things you can try if you have erectile dysfunction after your prostate cancer treatment. You should keep in mind that the following things will affect your ability to have an erection after your prostate cancer treatment:
- How good your erections were before your treatment
- Other medical conditions you have like high blood pressure or diabetes
- Some types of medicines you may take such as medicines for high blood pressure or antidepressants
- Things you do in your life such as drinking or smoking
- Your age
- The type of prostate cancer treatment you had
It is important that you and your partner speak with your doctor or healthcare team about what you can do. Your doctor or healthcare team will speak with you about what might work best for you if you have erectile dysfunction. It is important that you speak with them since some treatments for erectile dysfunction can affect other medical problems you may have.
Types of treatment for erectile dysfunction include:
What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Prostate Cancer
The choice of treatment for prostate cancer depends on many factors such as the patients prostate cancer risk as calculated from prostate-specific antigen levels, Gleason score, and tumor staging. Patients can discuss the significance of these factors in the choice of treatment with their doctor.
The standard effective treatment choices for men with early-stage prostate cancer are as follows
- Active surveillance: Monitoring the progression/status of the low-risk or early-stage cancer with regular testing and not treating it right away.
- Prostatectomy: Surgical removal of the prostate.
- Radiation therapy: Use of high-energy waves to destroy cancer cells.
Radiation therapy is one of the most effective treatments for many men with early-stage prostate cancer. It is also the best prostate cancer therapy for older men or those with other co-existing diseases. It can be delivered to the patient in any of the two ways
- External beam radiation: Sending/focusing high-energy waves from an external machine into the tumor.
- Brachytherapy: Placing a radioactive dye in the tumor through an implant or hollow tubes.
For metastatic prostate cancer, androgen deprivation therapy is usually the choice of treatment. ADT is also the only option in patients with prostate cancer who are unfit or unwilling to undergo surgery or/and radiation therapy.
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The History Of Prostatectomies In Dogs
Much of the research that determined this sort of surgery was ineffective for dogs was conducted about 30 years ago, but modern research, especially from veterinarians like Dr. Ralph Henderson, tout the benefits and high survival rates that prostate removal surgery can provide.
Now, the advantages of a total prostatectomy for dogs includes a better local tumor control , less expensive options, and a low risk of infection post surgery.
The Psa Blood Test Explained
PSA is prostate specific antigen, a substance produced by the prostate sometimes but not always in higher quantities in men with prostate cancer. Other causes of a raised PSA blood test include benign prostatic hyperplasia in men with a large prostate gland and infection or inflammation in the prostate . A raised PSA blood test does not mean that you have prostate cancer but that you may have an increased risk of developing the disease. If the PSA is raised, your doctor will talk to you about your options. Men in Ireland are not routinely offered PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer. There are many reasons for this, the most relevant being that although the PSA is prostate specific, it is not cancer specific. In other words the PSA can be raised for reasons other than cancer.
Prostate cancer treatment will depend on:
The type of cancer cells found at the time of diagnosis.
The test results.
The age of the patient.
General health of the patient.
Some of the treatment options include: active surveillance , surgery, radiotherapy , hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. Some of these treatments may be used alone or together to treat some prostate cancers. It is often useful to have a friend or relative with you when the treatment is explained. Some patients find it helps to write down a list of questions before going to the appointment.
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Men: Cancer Screening Exams By Age
These exams are for men at average risk of cancer.
Take this checklist to your next doctors appointment. Your doctor can help you develop a more tailored screening plan if needed.
These exams are for men at average risk of cancer. If you believe you may be more likely to develop cancer because of your personal or family medical history, visit our screening guidelines page to learn about exams for men at increased risk.
- Beginning at age 40, you should speak with your doctor about the benefits and limitations of prostate screening.
- If you choose prostate cancer screening, you should get a digital rectal exam and PSA test every year starting at age 45 to check for prostate cancer if you are African American or have a family history of prostate cancer.
- If you choose prostate cancer screening, you should get a digital rectal exam and PSA test every year to check for prostate cancer
- Colonoscopy every 10 years or virtual colonoscopy every 5 years to check for colorectal cancer
Age 76 and older
If youre age 76 to 85, your doctor can help you decide if you should continue screening. MD Anderson does not recommend cancer screening for men age 85 and older.
Speak with you doctor about cancer screening exams for lung and skin cancers. Exams are available for those at increased risk.
Regardless of your age, practice awareness. This means you should be familiar with your body so youll notice changes and report them to your doctor without delay.
The Test Is Often Not Needed
Most men with high PSAs dont have prostate cancer. Their high PSAs might be due to:
- An enlarged prostate gland.
- Recent sexual activity.
- A recent, long bike ride.
Up to 25% of men with high PSAs may have prostate cancer, depending on age and PSA level. But most of these cancers do not cause problems. It is common for older men to have some cancer cells in their prostate glands. These cancers are usually slow to grow. They are not likely to spread beyond the prostate. They usually dont cause symptoms, or death.
Studies show that routine PSA tests of 1,000 men ages 55 to 69 prevent one prostate cancer death. But the PSA also has risks.
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How Can You Have Prostate Cancer Without Symptoms
The prostate is a gland that wraps around the urine channel. It may be hard to believe that a man could have prostate cancer without symptoms. Dr. Richard Bevan-Thomas, Urologist & Prostate Cancer Specialist, discusses how this may be possible in the video below. Matters of the health can be confusing. Your doctor is the best source of information for your particular disease.
Learn more by watching Prostate Cancer Symptoms with Dr. Ronald F. Tutrone.
What Is A Prostatectomy
A prostatectomy is a surgical procedure for the partial or complete removalof the prostate. It may be performed to treatprostate cancerorbenign prostatic hyperplasia.
A common surgical approach to prostatectomy includes making a surgicalincision and removing the prostate gland . This may beaccomplished with either of two methods, the retropubic or suprapubicincision , or a perineum incision .
Prior to having a prostatectomy, it’s often necessary to have aprostate biopsy. Please see this procedure for additional information.
Prostate Cancer: Treatment Advances You Should Know About
Prostate cancer treatment has entered the robotics age. Using advancedrobotic technology, Johns Hopkins surgeons can see the prostate in 3-D,magnifying everything 10 times. Johns Hopkins urologist Mohamad Allaf, M.D., explains what this means for patients, including fewer side effects.
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Pain In The Back Or Hips
Many times, prostate cancer pain occurs around the lower spinal cord and hips. This a result of the prostate being in close proximity to these regions.
Cancer in the hips will cause bones to become brittle and weak. The result is consistent soreness, especially when bending over or exercising.
Prostate cancer can also put pressure on the spine. The compression of the nerves causes a dull pain that can become stabbing as the cancer grows.
If youve been experiencing severe pain in the back or hips even without engaging in rigorous activities during the day, its best if you get yourself checked. Aside from being one of the most common signs of prostate cancer, severe pain in the back and hips can take a toll on your daily activities, and prevent you from becoming productive during the day. Pain in the back and hips can also adversely affect your mobility, making it very challenging for you to move.
The Symptom Overlap From An Enlarged Prostate And Prostate Cancer Are Nearly Identical As Far As Urine
Prostate cancer can masquerade as a benign enlarged prostate if the malignancy is still localized rather than spread.
First of all, the majority of patients who are diagnosed with prostate cancer have absolutely no symptoms, says Michael D. Lutz, MD, board certified urologist Partner at Michigan Institute of Urology President, MIU Mens Health Foundation.
The typical prostate cancer is diagnosed by the judicious use of the serum prostatic specific antigen blood test, continues Dr. Lutz.
Based upon this blood test result and a digital rectal examination, additional tests to confirm the diagnosis would be considered.
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If Youre The Giving Partner
Cleanliness and safety are a must, even for the giver.
Cut and file your nails smooth to help avoid scratching or tearing the delicate skin in and around the anus.
Wash your hands thoroughly, even if youre planning to use a condom over your finger to penetrate your partner. For extra comfort, stuff cotton balls inside the condom or glove.
You can also get the party started in the shower together, which serves as foreplay and gets you both all nice and clean for the big show.
Youll probably need to try a few different moves and experiment with speed and pressure to find what feels best.
Here are some techniques to try, whether youre using fingers or toys.
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How May Erectile Dysfunction Affect My Sexual Relationships
Prostate cancer and its treatment can affect your desire for sex. Every man is different but the feelings caused by having cancer and the physical stress of treatment can affect the way you feel about your body and your relationships. Some men talk about feelings of a loss of their role within the partnership or family. This can sometimes affect a mans self esteem and confidence. For others, the physical effects of treatment may lead to tiredness and a lack of energy. Physical changes after some treatments can also affect the way you feel about your body and appearance . All of these things may result in a lack of interest in sex.
If you are feeling tired or under stress, tell your partner how your feel. Loss of interest in sex does not mean you lose interest in a loving and supportive relationship. There are ways to remain physically intimate without having sex. If you are used to a close physical relationship, it is important to remember that hugs, cuddles and kisses maintain intimacy, provide support, and do not have to lead to sex.
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The Basics: How An Erection Occurs
At its most basic level, an erection is a matter of hydraulics. Blood fills the penis, causing it to swell and become firm. But getting to that stage requires extraordinary orchestration of body mechanisms. Blood vessels, nerves, hormones, and, of course, the psyche must work together. Problems with any one of these elements can diminish the quality of an erection or prevent it from happening altogether.
Nerves talk to each other by releasing nitric oxide and other chemical messengers. These messengers boost the production of other important chemicals, including cyclic guanosine monophosphate, prostaglandins, and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide. These chemicals initiate the erection by relaxing the smooth muscle cells lining the tiny arteries that lead to the corpora cavernosa, a pair of flexible cylinders that run the length of the penis .
Figure 1: Anatomy of the penis
The penis is made up of three cylindrical bodies, the corpus spongiosum which contains the urethra and includes the glans of the penisand two corpora cavernosa , that extend from within the body out to the end of the penis to support erection. Blood enters the corpora cavernosa through the central arteries.