PROSTATE CANCER, Take a moment for the man in you life!

Please take a moment to count the men in your life….

Remember the family members you love so dearly; your fathers and grandfathers, your brothers and uncles, your partners and sons. Don’t forget your closest friends, your neighbours, and the people in your community who you depend on every day.

Have you reached the number 7 yet?

Because statistics show that 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer within their lifetime.

This week is Prostate Cancer Awareness Week, and with many of our fathers, brothers , friends and other loved ones at risk for the disease there’s never been a better time to stand up and help stop Prostate Cancer before it can steal our loved ones’ lives.

Chances are you, or someone you care about, will be touched by this disease. But with the right information, over 90% of prostate cancer cases are curable if detected and treated in their earliest stages!

We can take a huge step towards protecting ourselves and our loved ones just by knowing the risks. That’s why Prostate Cancer Canada’s ABC Information Kit is so important, it contains information on prostate cancer, treatment options and support services.

 

PROSTATE CANCER

Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize (spread) from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, problems during sexual intercourse, or erectile dysfunction. Other symptoms can potentially develop during later stages of the disease.

Rates of detection of prostate cancers vary widely across the world, with South and East Asia detecting less frequently than in Europe, and especially the United States. Prostate cancer tends to develop in men over the age of fifty. Globally it is the sixth leading cause of cancer-related death in men (in the United States it is the second). Prostate cancer is most common in the developed world with increasing rates in the developing world. However, many men with prostate cancer never have symptoms, undergo no therapy, and eventually die of other unrelated causes. Many factors, including genetics and diet, have been implicated in the development of prostate cancer.

The presence of prostate cancer may be indicated by symptoms, physical examination, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), or biopsy. Prostate-specific antigen testing increases cancer detection but does not decrease mortality.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force in 2012 recommended against screening for prostate cancer using the PSA testing, due to the risk of over-diagnosis and over-treatment with most prostate cancer remaining asymptomatic. The USPSTF concludes that the potential benefit of testing does not outweigh the expected harms.

Management strategies for prostate cancer should be guided by the severity of the disease. Many low-risk tumors can be safely followed with active surveillance.

Curative treatment generally involves surgery, various forms of radiation therapy, or, less commonly, cryosurgery; hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are generally reserved for cases of advanced disease

(although hormonal therapy may be given with radiation in some cases).

The age and underlying health of the man, the extent of metastasis, appearance under the microscope and response of the cancer to initial treatment are important in determining the outcome of the disease. The decision whether or not to treat localized prostate cancer (a tumor that is contained within the prostate) with curative intent is a patient trade-off between the expected beneficial and harmful effects in terms of patient survival and quality of life.

HERE are some tips for getting a man to the doctor for prostate cancer screening.

  • Get the facts, understand why regular prostate exams are important
  • Urge him to start talking to his doctor at age 40 and begin annual PSA tests at 45
  • Remind him that with early diagnosis and treatment, 95 per cent of men survive
  • Say that you want him around forever, sex or no sex
  • Tell him that treatment side effects are not necessarily severe or permanent
  • Show him that he can tell you absolutely anything
  • Say that you will go with him to the doctor
  • Book his tests and appointments when you book yours

Here are five things every man wishes he had known about prostate cancer before he was diagnosed:

1. Prostate cancer is not an old man’s disease; even young men in their 40s and 50s can get it. Every man over 45 should be tested annually.
2. Incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer are comparable to breast cancer.
3. Side effects are scary but shouldn’t stand in the way of getting diagnosed and treated. Ninety-five per cent of prostate cancer cases, found and treated early enough, are curable.
4. Many people are uninformed about prostate cancer. There are several online sources for information about the disease, including prostatecancer.ca.
5. A prostate cancer diagnosis can be emotionally overwhelming, but keep in mind that most Canadian men will survive the disease.
 

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Prostate cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer in men over age 75. Prostate cancer is rarely found in men younger than 40.

People who are at higher risk include:

  • African-American men, who are also likely to develop cancer at every age
  • Men who are older than 60
  • Men who have a father or brother with prostate cancer
  • Other people at risk include:
  • Men who have been around agent orange
  • Men who use too much alcohol
  • Farmers
  • Men who eat a diet high in fat, especially animal fat
  • Tire plant workers
  • Painters
  • Men who have been around cadmium

Prostate cancer is less common in people who do not eat meat (vegetarians).

A common problem in almost all men as they grow older is an enlarged prostate. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. It does not raise your risk of prostate cancer. However, it can increase your PSA blood test results.
 

Symptoms

The PSA blood test is often done to screen men for prostate cancer. Because of PSA testing, most prostate cancers are now found before they cause any symptoms.

The symptoms listed below can occur with prostate cancer, usually at a late stage.

These symptoms can also be caused by other prostate problems:

  • Delayed or slowed start of urinary stream
  • Dribbling or leakage of urine, most often after urinating
  • Slow urinary stream
  • Straining when urinating, or not being able to empty out all of the urine
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Bone pain or tenderness, most often in the lower back and pelvic bones (only when the cancer has spread)

 

Signs and tests

A biopsy is needed to tell if you have prostate cancer. A sample of tissue is removed from the prostate and sent to a lab.

Your doctor may recommend a prostate biopsy if:

  • You have high PSA level
  • A rectal exam shows a large prostate or a hard, uneven surface

The results are reported using what is called a Gleason grade and a Gleason score.

The Gleason grade tells you how fast the cancer might spread. It grades tumors on a scale of 1 – 5.
 
 
 
You may have different grades of cancer in one biopsy sample. The two main grades are added together. This gives you the Gleason score.

The higher your Gleason score, the more likely the cancer is to have spread past the prostate:

Scores 2 – 5: Low-grade prostate cancer

Scores 6 – 7: Intermediate- (or in the middle-) grade cancer. Most prostate cancers fall into this group.

Scores 8 – 10: High-grade cancer

 
The following tests may be done to determine whether the cancer has spread:

  • CT scan
  • Bone scan
  • The PSA blood test will also be used to monitor your cancer after treatment. Often, PSA levels will begin to rise before there are any symptoms. An abnormal digital rectal exam may be the only sign of prostate cancer (even if the PSA is normal).

 

Treatment

Treatment depends on many things, including your Gleason score and your overall health. Your doctor will discuss your treatment options.

For early-stage prostate cancer, this may include:

  • Surgery (radical prostatectomy)
  • Radiation therapy, including brachytherapy and proton therapy

If you are older, your doctor may recommend simply monitoring the cancer with PSA tests and biopsies.

If the prostate cancer has spread, treatment may include:

  • Hormone therapy (medicines to reduce testosterone levels)
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy

Surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy can affect your sexual desire or performance. Problems with urine control are common after surgery and radiation therapy. Discuss your concerns with your health care provider.

After treatment for prostate cancer, you will be closely watched to make sure the cancer does not spread. This involves routine doctor check-ups, including PSA blood tests (usually every 3 months to 1 year).
 
This Prostate Cancer Awareness Week we encourage men age 40+ to make a doctor’s appointment, start considering their risk and take charge of their prostate health.

 

 

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