Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men after skin cancer. It is the most deadly form of cancer, and about one in seven men will be diagnosed with this disease at least once in their lifetime. Here is everything you need to know about prostate cancer, in order to protect yourself and to stay healthy.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a gland located right under the bladder, in front of the rectum. It is the place where semen is stored, and it surrounds the urethra. In younger men, the prostate is about the size of a walnut, but it can grow to be much larger in older men.
What is prostate cancer?
The most common form of prostate cancer is when a tumor is found on the gland itself. Typically this form of cancer grows slowly, and many men do not know they have it as it shows few outward symptoms.
What are prostate cancer risk factors?
There are many risk factors of prostate cancer including:
- Age: This form of cancer is most frequently seen in men after 50 years of age. About six in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65.
- Ethnicity: Prostate cancer occurs more in men of African-American descent.
- Family history: Having a father or a brother with prostate cancer doubles a man's risk for acquiring the disease.
- Lifestyle: Men who are obese, or who eat a diet high in dairy and red meat, have a sightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer.
What are prostate cancer symptoms?
Typically, prostate cancer does not show many outward symptoms until the advanced stages. These symptoms include: blood in urine, lower back and pelvic pain, erectile dysfunction, and problems urinating.
How is prostate cancer detected?
If a patient presents the aforementioned symptoms, a 3T MRI can be ordered. An MRI is a radiology imaging procedure proven to be successful in early detection of prostate cancer. 3T MRI's are used to produce 3D images that can be viewed from many different angles in order to pinpoint the location of the cancer. Some 30 million MRI scans are performed every year in the United States. Each scan lasts anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours.
What are some treatment methods for prostate cancer?
There are many different forms of treatment, including surgery; radiation therapy; chemotherapy; cryotherapy; hormone therapy; and vaccine therapy. The exact approach will depend upon the stage at which prostate cancer is diagnosed, the patient's age and overall health, and the patient's lifestyle.
Preventative measures include the implementation of a healthy diet along with routine scans at a local diagnostic imaging center. An MRI can save your life, so make sure to set up an annual health checkup with your doctor.