What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is a malignant tumor of the prostate. It is the most common cancer that occurs in men, apart from skin cancer.
Each year, there are approximately 248,530 men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, the majority of patients are cured with treatment, which typically involves surgery to remove the prostate or radiation directed at the prostate.
For certain types of prostate cancer, patients initially are followed very carefully, and treatment is deferred because the patient’s prostate cancer is so slow-growing and unaggressive.
Who is at risk for getting prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer typically occurs in older men (> 60 years old). However, it can occur in younger men, and younger men should be screened based on risk factors. The most common risk factors for developing prostate cancer are a family history and African-American ancestry. Patients with these risk factors tend to be diagnosed at a younger age and have a more aggressive form of the disease.
How important is prostate cancer screening?
Screening and early detection are very important for prostate cancer. Following recommended screening guidelines leads to early detection of a cancer, and early detection, before the tumor has reached a significant size or spread, is associated with a much better prognosis.
Screening can be accomplished with a simple blood test and physical exam. For patients with an increased risk of prostate cancer, screening is paramount so that the prostate cancer can be detected as soon as possible, affording the best chance at a long-term cure.
Beginning at age 40, men should discuss the pros and cons of a prostate cancer screening with a physician, especially if considered to be at higher risk for prostate cancer. Northside Hospital Cancer Institute holds annual prostate cancer screenings at several convenient locations throughout Georgia. Click here for more info.
What can we do, if anything, to prevent prostate cancer?
At this point, there are no known nutritional, environmental or behavioral measures for the prevention of prostate cancer. But, in patients with risk factors, close monitoring and surveillance to identify potential prostate cancer at its earliest stage is recommended.
What is the current survival outlook?
The prognosis for patients with prostate cancer is overall very good. Fortunately, most men are diagnosed very early with prostate cancer based on Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) screening, and treatment with surgery or radiation therapy are very effective at achieving a long-term cure.
What is the primary message you want people to know about prostate cancer?
Know your risk factors and get screened. If screened appropriately, patients will be diagnosed early and have the best chance for long-term cure.
- Expert: As we age, our lives change—and so does our cancer risk.
- Northside internist discusses 5 critically important men’s health screenings