Testing for prostate cancer begins with a conversation with your doctor about your risk factors, age and your overall health.
Living with prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer affects men when cancer cells grow in the prostate gland.
There are benefits of prostate testing, especially in men who expect to live at least 10 more years, but there are also uncertainties and risks.
While prostate cancer is slow growing, it can, like any other type of cancer, advance throughout the body to other organs if left untreated in the early stages.
Most older men eventually develop at least microscopic evidence of prostate cancer. It grows so slowly, however, that many men die of something else without ever knowing they had prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer symptoms.
Some men experience just a few of these symptoms, while others have no symptoms at all. If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor:
- Difficulty urinating and/or fully emptying your bladder
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Pain or burning during urination
- Blood in your urine or semen
- Pain in your back, hips or pelvic region
- Painful ejaculation
Treating prostate cancer.
Treatment for prostate cancer depends on the severity, your age and a host of other factors. There are four main treatment options that range from non-invasive to surgical.
- Active surveillance: Also called watchful waiting, this includes monitoring the tumor for cancer progression to determine if and when treatment should be started.
- Minimally invasive surgery: Also called radical prostatectomy, this treatment option removes the prostate gland, using minimally invasive laparoscopic or robotic techniques. The vessels that carry semen and surrounding tissue may also be removed.
- Radiation therapy: The tumor is targeted either through external beam radiation or internally through implanted "seeds."
- Hormone therapy: Also called androgen deprivation therapy, this treatment stops the male hormones through medication or a surgical procedure to remove the testicles, known as an orchiectomy.