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Prostate Cancer

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Most prostate cancer begins in the gland cells in the prostate. Known as a silent killer because men often do not have symptoms, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer, other than skin cancer, among men in the United States and a leading cause of cancer deaths among men. However, 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.

Statistics

  • One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.
  • One in 36 men will die from the disease, making it the second most common cause of cancer death in men.
  • In 2013, 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, and 29,720 men will die from the disease.
  • In Texas, 17,579 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2013, and 1,845 deaths are expected.

Risk Factors

  • Age: Men age 65 and older account for about two-thirds 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 more likely to die from the disease than any other racial group.
  • Genetic Factors: A gene mutation on BRCA1 or BRCA2 denotes an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Diet: Men who consume high amounts of red meat or dairy products have a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Symptoms

The following may be symptoms of prostate cancer but could be linked to other health conditions. If these symptoms are present, men are encouraged to consult their physician for proper testing:

  • Difficulty controlling urination
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in spine, hips, ribs, and other bones
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficulty having an erection

Prevention

  • Nutrition
    • Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Tomatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli are rich in substances that may help prevent prostate cancer.
    • Reduce consumption of processed meat and dairy products.
    • Consumption of soy products may control testosterone levels which are linked to prostate cancer.
  • Lifestyle
    • Regular exercise may decrease the risk of prostate cancer.
    • Since obesity can further complicate prostate cancer, maintain a healthy body weight.

Screening

Beginning at age 50, men should discuss with a physician the benefits and risks associated with prostate cancer screening to determine if it is right for them. Men at high risk (African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer before age 65) should discuss with a physician whether screenings are appropriate beginning at age 45. Those with several immediate family members with prostate cancer should discuss screenings with a physician beginning at age 40. Prostate screenings can include the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and DRE (digital rectal exam).

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 parts of the body. Physicians will determine the most appropriate treatment for each patient, including surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy.

Sources: American Cancer Society, Prostate Cancer Foundation, and Texas Cancer Registry