Prostate Cancer Stages: What You Need To Know
There are four prostate cancer stages, which refer to how quickly and how far the cancer has spread.
The stages are based on guidelines set by the American Joint Committee on Cancer .
To determine your prostate cancer stage, your doctor will perform a number of tests, including:
- Digital rectal exam, in which your prostate is felt for abnormalities
- A blood test to measure the amount of PSA that’s circulating in your body
- A biopsy to extract cancerous tissue and grade how likely it will spread based on its appearance compared with normal prostate tissue
- Various imaging tests, such as computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans
- Bone scans to look for cancerous cells in bone
Early Stage Prostate Cancer
If the cancer is small and localized, a doctor may recommend:
Watchful waiting or monitoring
The doctor may check PSA blood levels regularly but take no immediate action. Prostate cancer grows slowly, and the risk of treatment side effects may outweigh the need for immediate treatment.
A surgeon may carry out a radical prostatectomy to remove the tumor. In addition to removing the prostate, the procedure may also involve the removal of the surrounding tissue, seminal vesicles, and nearby lymph nodes. A doctor can perform this procedure using either open, laparoscopic, or robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery.
This uses radiation to kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing. Options for early stage prostate cancer may include :
External radiation therapy: This method uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer cells. Conformal radiation therapy is a type of external radiation that uses a computer to help guide and target a specific area, minimizing the risk to healthy tissue and allowing a high dose of radiation to reach the prostate tumor.
Internal radiation therapy: Also known as brachytherapy, this method uses radioactive seeds that a doctor implants near the prostate. A surgeon uses imaging scans, such as ultrasound or computed tomography to help guide the placement of the radioactive substance.
Treatment will depend on various factors. A doctor will discuss the best option for the individual.
Favorite Apps Products And Gadgets
With a simple tap, youll receive information about personalized prostate cancer treatment options to help manage your care. This free app includes questions to ask your doc, calendars to keep track of your appointments, and videos that highlight helpful resources. Downloading it is a great way to stay on top of your cancer!
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The Top 7 Signs Of Advanced Prostate Cancer
In the early stages, you may not notice any symptoms related to prostate cancer. This is why screenings are important. Symptoms can sometimes be noticed for the first time when the cancer advances.
Advanced prostate cancer, also called metastatic cancer, means the cancer has spread to other areas of your body beyond your prostate gland. The most common areas for prostate cancer to spread are your bladder, rectum, and bones. It can also spread to your lymph nodes, liver, lungs, and other body tissues.
Whether youve just been diagnosed or youre in treatment, its also important to know the signs of advanced cancer. Cancer can behave differently depending on your genetics, so not every person will experience the same symptoms in the same way.
Read on to learn more about the seven top symptoms of advanced prostate cancer and how to spot them.
If I Have No Symptoms Should I Get Checked For Prostate Cancer
The following people who have no symptoms are recommended to get checked for prostate cancer:
- you are a man aged 5070 years old but dont have any family history of prostate cancer
- you are a man aged 4070 years old and your father or brother has had prostate cancer
- you are a man aged more than 70 years old and you have family history of prostate cancer or you have had an abnormal PSA test previously, and you have a life expectancy of more than 10 years.
Having a prostate check is your decision. The check wont tell you if you have prostate cancer, but it will tell you how likely you are to have it. Checks usually involve a blood test called a prostate-specific antigen test and a digital rectal examination .
Read more about prostate testing.
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What Causes Prostate Cancer
Experts arent sure why some cells in the prostate gland become cancerous . Genetics appear to play a role. For example:
- Youre two to three times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father, brother or son has the disease.
- Inherited mutated breast cancer genes and other gene mutations contribute to a small number of prostate cancers.
How Common Is Prostate Cancer
About one in nine men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer affecting males. Close to 200,000 American men receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer every year. There are many successful treatments and some men dont need treatment at all. Still, approximately 33,000 men die from the disease every year.
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Other Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Some prostate cancer symptoms are less common and in some men may be associated with more advanced disease.
If you experience any of these prostate cancer symptoms, you should consult your healthcare provider immediately. There are many tests and procedures available for prostate cancer diagnosis and many options for prostate cancer treatment.
Originally published in February 2016 and updated.
What Are The Early Symptoms
The main indicator that something is wrong is in your toilet habits. If youre finding you need to wee more frequently, or youre getting up often during the night, then you need to investigate the cause. You may also notice a hesitancy when you try to pee, or straining and taking a lot of time, as well as a weak flow.
Some sufferers notice that their bladder feels like its not been fully emptied. Meanwhile, blood in your urine or semen is another obvious warning sign. But men also need to be aware that prostate cancer can be symptomless until the tumour has grown large enough to pose a real problem.
We see many patients – in fact the majority – whove been diagnosed with prostate cancer having had absolutely no symptoms whatsoever.
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The Signs Of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer can be silent. It usually is, at least while it is small. It doesnt cause any symptoms at that moment.
Thats because it usually grows in the periphery of the prostate, far from the urethra.
After it grows a little, you can start to get some symptoms. These are the most common:
As you can see, all these signs and symptoms are related to urination and ejaculation.
For example, as the prostate surrounds the urethra, prostate cancer may make it harder to pee.
The tumor will narrow the duct and the urine flow will diminish. Thats when we find it difficult to urinate. Either through trouble starting or being unable to stop.
Also, the effort of the bladder against the obstacle can cause a burning sensation or pain
And so on many of these signs are due to this obstacle mechanism.
Problems When You Pee
Many men have some problems peeing as they get older, like:
- A need to pee more often, especially at night
- Dribbling, leaking, or an urgent need to go
- Trouble starting to pee, or a weak stream
- A burning sensation when they pee
An enlarged prostate gland usually causes these symptoms, but so can prostate cancer. See your doctor to check on the cause of the problem. Theyâll give you an exam to look for an enlarged prostate, and they may talk to you about a blood test for prostate cancer.
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How To Involve Your Spouse Or Partner In Your Advanced Prostate Cancer Care
Whether diet can impact either your risk of getting prostate cancer or your prognosis is an area of active study, but there have been few answers so far. Clearer evidence exists with regard to supplements, with the general consensus being that theyre not helpful. The best advice so far: Follow a diet thats good for the heart and focus on whole foods.
What Is The Prostate
To understand the signs of prostate cancer, we must know what the prostate is first. And where it is located.
Because most of the symptoms are explained by the prostates location. When cancer grows, it pushes the surrounding structures, causing those symptoms.
The urethra is like a pipe with a faucet. The prostate would be surrounding it. If it enlarges, it will push against the pipe.
It is a gland located below the bladder, surrounding the urethra . Thats right, part of the urethra runs through the prostate.
Its normal size is that of a nut.
As for the function, it produces part of the semen, around 30% of it. The remaining 70% comes from the seminal vesicles and testicles.
So, as you can imagine, prostate cancer can alter the process of urination and ejaculation.
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Drugs To Treat Cancer Spread To Bone
If prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it almost always goes to the bones first. These areas of cancer spread can cause pain and weak bones that might break. Medicines that can help strengthen the bones and lower the chance of fracture are bisphosphonates and denosumab. Sometimes, radiation, radiopharmaceuticals, or pain medicines are given for pain control.
Side effects of bone medicines
A serious side effect of bisphosphonates and denosumab is damage to the jaw, also called osteonecrosis of the jaw . Most people will need to get approval from their dentist before starting one of these drugs.
Prostate Cancer: Where Can You Find A Helping Hand
This is your one-stop source for information on prostate cancer. You can easily search for support groups, doctors, and clinical trials. And, your donation to the PCF funds prostate cancer research, with 84 cents of every dollar going toward their research mission.
PCRI focuses on improving the lives of prostate cancer patients and caregivers. We love that you can take a prostate cancer staging quiz to find out more about your prognosis. To take it, youll need to know the results of your PSA, biopsy, digital rectal exam, bone scan, and CT scan.
The American Cancer Society is considered the go-to source for reliable cancer information. Their site offers news releases, clinical trial opportunities, online support groups, and more. We especially like their Understanding Health Insurance page, which navigates you through the often complex process of utilizing health insurance for cancer treatments.
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Trouble Walking Or Climbing Stairs
Having difficulty walking or climbing stairs due to pain or weakness? It’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. According to South Carolina-based urologist Neal Shore, MD, it’s a symptom that can emerge as prostate cancer progresses. “Men with advanced disease and their caregivers describe difficulty walking or climbing stairs,” he wrote on Oncology Nurse Advisor. “These symptoms can have a major impact on daily quality of life, but men with advanced disease don’t always recognize these symptoms.” And for things you’re doing that are increasing your chances of another serious health problem, check out 20 Ways You’re Raising Your Risk of a Heart Attack Without Knowing It.
Are There Complications Of Prostate Cancer And Treatment
Treatments can cause side effects, including:
- Erectile dysfunction: More than 3 in every 4 men have problems with getting and keeping an erection after surgery. However, this can be minimised using nerve-sparing surgery techniques. Erectile dysfunction is also common after radiation therapy and ADT. There are effective treatments for erection problems.
- Poor bladder control : 5% to 10% of men have problems with urine leakage within one year after prostate removal.
- Urinary urgency: Radiation therapy can cause damage around the prostate, making you feel like going to the toilet more often.
Men who take ADT may also experience a reduced sex drive and hormone-related effects such as hot flushes, tiredness and sweating, loss of body hair and osteoporosis. ADT can also result in reduced muscle strength, an increased risk of getting heart disease and memory loss.
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Causes Of Prostate Cancer
It is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, although a number of things can increase your risk of developing the condition.
- age risk rises as you get older and most cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years of age.
- ethnic group prostate cancer is more common among men of African-Caribbean and African descent than in men of Asian descent.
- family history having a brother or father who developed prostate cancer under the age of 60 seems to increase the risk of you developing it. Research also shows that having a close female relative who developed breast cancer may also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
- obesity recent research suggests that there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer.
- exercise men who regularly exercise have also been found to be at lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
- diet research is ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer. There is evidence that a diet high in calcium is linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
In addition, some research has shown that prostate cancer rates appear to be lower in men who eat foods containing certain nutrients including lycopene, found in cooked tomatoes and other red fruit, and selenium, found in brazil nuts. However, more research is needed.
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What Should You Do If You Have The Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
If you are presenting one or more of the warning signs of prostate cancer, then it would be wise to promptly consult with a qualified physician. Your symptoms may indicate another, less serious condition and even if you do receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer, it is much easier to treat this disease when detected early on.
To learn more, contact our team of medical professionals at Care New England today.
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What Are 5 Common Warning Signs Of Prostate Cancer
In many cases, prostate cancer does not produce clear symptoms in its initial stages of development. In fact, many men may have prostate cancer without even realizing it. However, there are some common warning signs that could indicate a person has prostate cancer. Five of the most common ones include:
Of course, these five symptoms are not the only potential warning signs of prostate cancer. Other possible indicators could include weak urine flow, and unexplained pain deep in the groin area when sitting down. If cancer has spread beyond the prostate, a man may also suffer lower body swelling, abnormal urinary or bowel habits, or inexplicable weight loss.
It’s important to note that most of these symptoms are not unique to prostate cancer, and may indicate a different condition that is not life-threatening.
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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What About Other Treatments I Hear About
When you have cancer you might hear about other ways to treat the cancer or treat your symptoms. These may not always be standard medical treatments. These treatments may be vitamins, herbs, special diets, and other things. You may wonder about these treatments.
Some of these are known to help, but many have not been tested. Some have been shown not to help. A few have even been found to be harmful. Talk to your doctor about anything youre thinking about using, whether its a vitamin, a diet, or anything else.
What Are The Risk Factors For Prostate Cancer
Some of the greatest risk factors for prostate cancer include:
- Age. Prostate cancer is very rare in men younger than 40 years of age. In contrast, approximately 60% of prostate cancer cases occur in men that are older than 65.
- Race. African-American men tend to be at greater risk for prostate cancer compared to non-Hispanic whites, whereas Asian-Americans and Hispanic/Latino men are less susceptible to this disease.
- Location. Prostate cancer is most common in North America, Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean. It is rarer in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. This may be because of more intensive screening procedures for the disease in certain countries, although lifestyle factors such as diet could also play a key role in the difference.
- Family history. In many cases, there is a strong hereditary factor associated with the emergence of prostate cancer. In fact, men who have a father or brother with prostate cancer have a much higher risk of developing it themselves.
Other possible risk factors could include a dairy-rich diet, obesity, smoking, and exposure to harmful chemicals.
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