Risks And Causes Of Prostate Cancer
The cause of the majority of prostate cancers is unknown. However, the risk of developing prostate cancer may be slightly increased with the following:
Increasing age Prostate cancer is quite rare in men under 50.
Family history If your father or brother is diagnosed with prostate cancer you are two to three times more likely to get prostate cancer yourself. If they had it at a young age your risk is greater still.
*Genetics Men who carry a faulty BRCA2 gene are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer. To learn more about the BRCA gene in men, click here.
Diet the Western diet, which is rich in fats and low in fibre, may increase risk.
Race African-American and African-Caribbean men are more at risk than other ethnic groups.
Click here for more information about risks factors and causes of prostate cancer.
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Keeping Track Of Your Prostate As You Age
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men. Catching the disease in its early stages may improve a manÃ¢s chance of survival.
When you reach age 40, talk to your doctor about your familyÃ¢s medical history and other key factors that will help determine your risk of developing the disease.
If you get tested, youÃ¢ll likely undergo a digital rectal exam and a PSA test, a blood-draw that measures your levels of prostate specific antigen . High PSA levels could indicate cancer, but they can also be caused by other conditions, including BPH. Talk to your doctor to make sure you understand what the results mean.
How To Check For Prostate Cancer At Home
Medically Reviewed by: Dr. BautistaUpdated on: November 18, 2019
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men, but the good news is its also one of the most successfully treated through both conventional and holistic prostate cancer treatment. Prostate cancer develops in the walnut-shaped gland that is responsible for producing semen and transporting sperm. Many men, and some women, question, can prostate cancer spread?. Although its not always the case, this type of cancer is typically slow-growing. It lingers in the prostate gland without spreading or causing major damage.
However, if prostate cancer is left untreated, it will eventually destroy the prostate and spread to local and distant organs. The best thing you can do is be proactive, take control of your health, and be familiar with any changes going on in your body. With that said, regular checkups are important, but you can also do this yourself. If youre wondering how to check for prostate cancer at home, the best thing you can do is know what symptoms to look for, and stay knowledgeable about what the four stages of prostate cancer are.
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Is Prostate Cancer An Hereditary Disease
Family history is the strongest known risk factor for prostate cancer. Current guidelines do recommend that earlier screening for men with a family history of the disease is necessary. The problem, due to limited evidence-based guidance available, was at what age this earlier screening should start.
The purpose of the study was to provide precise recommendations about at what age should relatives of prostate cancer patients start screening based on the number of affected relatives and the age at onset of prostate cancer in the family.
Prostate cancer screenings for men with a family history of the disease aim to prevent a diagnosis at a later, less treatable stage. This is what has been lacking in current prostate cancer screening guidelines. Currently, guidelines do recommend men with a family history to be screened earlier but the question has always been, at what age to start these earlier screenings. This is where this study aimed to fill in the data on the limited evidence available by pinpointing at what age these men should begin screening for prostate cancer.
The study was a register-based nationwide cohort study of all men living in Sweden born after 1931 along with their fathers who were included. Follow-up occurred from 1958 to 2015 of more than 6.3 million men out of which 88,999 of those men were diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 prostate cancer or died from the disease.
Men At Higher Risk Of Prostate Cancer
Some men are at higher risk of prostate cancer than others. These are:
- black men
- men who have a family history of prostate cancer
The risk of prostate cancer also increases as men get older.
The evidence so far doesnt suggest that routinely screening these men would help prevent deaths from prostate cancer. In fact, it might lead to men having treatment for prostate cancer even though that cancer wouldnt have caused any problems or symptoms.
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What Is The Psa Test
Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by normal, as well as malignant, cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in a mans blood. For this test, a blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results are usually reported as nanograms of PSA per milliliter of blood.
The blood level of PSA is often elevated in men with prostate cancer, and the PSA test was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1986 to monitor the progression of prostate cancer in men who had already been diagnosed with the disease. In 1994, FDA approved the use of the PSA test in conjunction with a digital rectal exam to test asymptomatic men for prostate cancer. Men who report prostate symptoms often undergo PSA testing to help doctors determine the nature of the problem.
In addition to prostate cancer, a number of benign conditions can cause a mans PSA level to rise. The most frequent benign prostate conditions that cause an elevation in PSA level are prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia . There is no evidence that prostatitis or BPH leads to prostate cancer, but it is possible for a man to have one or both of these conditions and to develop prostate cancer as well.
Is Going To The Bathroom Frequently A Sign Of Prostate Cancer
Thats one of the challenging things having urinary symptoms is very rarelyalmost nevera sign of prostate cancer. Having urinary symptoms means you should probably be evaluated for an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia . We can treat your urinary symptoms and help you pee better.
If urinary symptoms bring men to the doctor, we can discuss screening for prostate cancer. Thats important because not all men will go to a doctor until theres something wrong with them. And prostate cancer screening really is the only way to detect prostate cancer, because its almost always asymptomatic.
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Can A Swollen Prostate If Untreated Cause Prostate Cancer
We have no evidence of that. Theyre completely unrelated problems. The area of the prostate that causes urinary symptoms is usually a different part of the prostate than where cancer is likeliest to develop.
Doctors divide the prostate into different zones. The zone that is associated with BPHand the majority of prostate growthis the transition zone. Prostate cancer occurs there much less often than in the peripheral zone, which is the outer area.
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Dr. Behfar Ehdaie, a urologic surgeon specializing in prostate cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, said that these varying guidelines are due to the different risk factors that each person faces. Things like family history, environmental factors, race and more can all come into play when it comes to assessing prostate cancer risk.
There are specific patient level factors that have to go into that decision, including family history, comorbidities, and life expectancy, said Ehdaie, who said that people who are not expected to live more than another decade may not be advised to get screened. And of course, the patients own preferences are taken into account, their goals, what they want to achieve.
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How Do You Test For Prostate Cancer
Regular health exams and tests are an important aspect of our lives as they can help detect problems before they start. They can also help in identifying problems early when you stand a better chance for treatment and cure. You should remember that by opting for earlier health checkups, you will be living a longer and healthier life. Now, who wouldnt like that?
One of the important screenings that can have a significant impact on quality of life for men over the age of 50 is Prostate Cancer Checkup. And, do you know why? Prostate cancer checkup often the dreaded disease would be in a fairly advanced condition before you even notice any symptoms at all. You will have to talk to your family physician or a urologist to know more about the problem. The question of prostate cancer checkup is a personal and quite a complicated one, and your doctor can decide whether prostate cancer screening is right and necessary for you.
The aim of having a prostate cancer checkup is to diagnose a disease or cancer at an early stage before even the symptoms manifest. It is then easier to treat, and there are more chances to cure cancer. Detecting certain types of prostate cancer early can be critical as elevated PSA results may reveal prostate cancer that may spread to other parts of your body, or they may reveal rapidly-growing cancer that may cause other problems.
An Abnormal Psa Test: What Comes Next
If your PSA score is in the abnormal range, your doctor may recommend yourepeat the PSA test. If your levels are still high, your doctor mightrecommend one of the newer prostate cancer screening tests available today.
These tests can help better assess your risk for prostate cancer anddetermine whether a biopsy is necessary. Only a prostate biopsy candefinitively diagnose prostate cancer.
For individualized recommendations that suit you, ask your doctor about:
- What age you should start prostate cancer screening
- New blood, urine and imaging tests that are available
- Improved biopsy techniques, if applicable
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What Are Prostate Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Some prostate cancer treatments can affect the bladder, erectile nerves and sphincter muscle, which controls urination. Potential problems include:
- Incontinence: Some men experience urinary incontinence. You may leak urine when you cough or laugh, or you may feel an urgent need to use the bathroom even when your bladder isnt full. This problem can improve over the first six to 12 months without treatment.
- Erectile dysfunction : Surgery, radiation and other treatments can damage the erectile nerves and affect your ability to get or maintain an erection. Some men regain erectile function within a year or two . In the meantime, medications like sildenafil or tadalafil can help by increasing blood flow to the penis.
- Infertility: Treatments can affect your ability to produce or ejaculate sperm, resulting in male infertility. If you think you might want children in the future, you can preserve sperm in a sperm bank before you start treatments. After treatments, you may undergo sperm extraction. This procedure involves removing sperm directly from testicular tissue and implanting it into a womans uterus.
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When To Get A Prostate Cancer Screening
A prostate screening can help your doctor find prostate cancer early, but youll need to decide if the benefits of the exam outweigh the risks. Have a discussion with your doctor about prostate cancer screenings.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that men ages 55 to 69 decide for themselves whether to undergo a prostate-specific antigen screening test, after talking it over with their doctor.
They recommend against screening for men at or above the age of 70.
The American Cancer Society strongly recommends that no one be screened without discussion of the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening.
They give these specific recommendations for the date at which these discussions with a healthcare provider should take place:
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age .
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk .
You should also speak with your doctor about a prostate exam if youre experiencing symptoms of a prostate problem, such as frequent or painful urination or blood in your urine.
After this discussion, if you decide to get a prostate cancer screening, the ACS and the American Urologic Association recommend getting a prostate-specific antigen blood test.
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What Do You Say To Patients Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer
Something I say to my patients a lot is that, in treating prostate cancer, we end up trying to extend your quantity of life at the cost of your quality of life. And so, at some point, if the quantity is extended a lot, and we can minimize the effect on quality, that makes sense, but the equation is different for every man. How much decrease in quality of life are you willing to accept if were going to extend your life?
Realistically, a lot of guys who are 70 dont have any sexual function anyway, so thats not a huge loss for them. As men get older theres definitely an increased chance of having erectile dysfunction the guys who have sexual function over 70 are very keen on preserving it. Even for the guys who dont have good sexual function, who are on Viagra, for them its often even more important to preserve what sexual function they have.
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Whats The Best Treatment For Prostate Symptoms
Treatments for prostate cancer include surgery to remove the prostate, radiation therapy, and ablation therapies, as well as active surveillance. Some treatments are better for some men and some prostates than others. There are side effects for each, so it really requires an informed discussion to help each man make an educated decision.
One thing we do at Yale is use an MRI of the prostate to evaluate the location of the prostate cancer for surgical planning. Ive found it to be quite helpful. Its not done everywhere.
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Dr. Matthew Rettig, the medical director of the Prostate Cancer Program at the Institute of Urologic Oncology at UCLA in California, said that even if screenings aren’t performed right away, men should at least start talking about them with their doctors early in life.
“I think I would have that conversation fairly early on in life, maybe even in 30s or 40s, about when to initiate screening,” said Retting. “I think that would be most important for patients who are at high risk for prostate cancer and high risk for early onset of prostate cancer. Those are the types of patients that probably ought to have the discussion and make a decision about when to start screening at a relatively young age.”
What Happens During A Digital Rectal Exam
Your health care provider will insert a gloved finger into the rectum and feel the prostate for hard, lumpy, or abnormal areas. The test takes only a few minutes to complete.
You may feel slight, momentary discomfort during the test. The procedure does not cause significant pain or any damage to the prostate.
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How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed
A biopsy is when a small piece of tissue is removed from the prostate and looked at under a microscope.
A biopsy is a procedure that can be used to diagnose prostate cancer. A biopsy is when a small piece of tissue is removed from the prostate and looked at under a microscope to see if there are cancer cells.
A Gleason score is determined when the biopsy tissue is looked at under the microscope. If there is a cancer, the score indicates how likely it is to spread. The score ranges from 2 to 10. The lower the score, the less likely it is that the cancer will spread.
A biopsy is the main tool for diagnosing prostate cancer, but a doctor can use other tools to help make sure the biopsy is made in the right place. For example, doctors may use transrectal ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging to help guide the biopsy. With transrectal ultrasound, a probe the size of a finger is inserted into the rectum and high-energy sound waves are bounced off the prostate to create a picture of the prostate called a sonogram. MRI uses magnets and radio waves to produce images on a computer. MRI does not use any radiation.
What Do My Psa Test Results Mean
Once your test results are back, your healthcare provider will let you know if any additional testing is recommended. PSA levels can vary over time for several reasons unrelated to prostate cancer . So, if you have a borderline PSA, your provider may simply recommend another PSA test in six months or so.
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Should I Get Screened For Prostate Cancer
This video helps men understand their prostate cancer screening options.
In 2018, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force made the following recommendations about prostate cancer screeningexternal icon
- Men who are 55 to 69 years old should make individual decisions about being screened for prostate cancer with a prostate specific antigen test.
- Before making a decision, men should talk to their doctor about the benefits and harms of screening for prostate cancer, including the benefits and harms of other tests and treatment.
- Men who are 70 years old and older should not be screened for prostate cancer routinely.
This recommendation applies to men who
- Are at average risk for prostate cancer.
- Are at increased risk for prostate cancer.