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What Is Prostate Cancer?

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancerWhat is prostate cancer? Prostate cancer is the development of a malignant growth or tumor caused by uncontrolled or abnormal cell division in the tissues of the prostate gland. An estimated 240,000 new cases were diagnosed in the United States in 2011, and an estimated 33,000 men died of the disease. It is the second most common cancer among men in the United States, and it most often develops in men older than age 65. More on prostate cancer statistics

What Is Prostate Cancer and What Are Its Risk Factors

Although experts have identified risk factors for prostate cancer, the underlying cause of the disease is not known. Like other cancers, it is believed to develop in two steps. During step one, the cells are exposed to factors, such as viruses or toxins, that cause or trigger the unusual or uncontrolled cell growth. During step two, other factors such as diet, hormones, and environmental influences promote the growth and development of the abnormal cells.

What Is Prostate Cancer and What Are Its Symtoms

Not all men experience prostate cancer symptoms, but those who do may have urinary problems that include an inability to pass urine, difficulty starting or stopping the flow of urine, urinary urgency, a weak urinary flow, and pain or burning during urination. Other symptoms may include difficulty having an erection, blood in the urine or semen, and frequent pain in the hips, lower back, or upper thighs.

Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

A great number of prostate cancer treatment options are available for men who have prostate cancer. These range from active surveillance or watchful waiting, which means no active treatment is initiated but that doctors and patients monitor signs and symptoms; to internal or external radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, surgery and a new form of treatment using high intensity focused ultrasound called “HIFU”. The optimal treatment for any man depends on his age, grade of the tumor, the stage of the cancer, symptoms, number of biopsy samples that contain cancer cells, and overall health as well as lifestyle priorities.

Here’s a brief rundown of the available traditional treatment options:

  • Watchful waiting or “active surveillance”, which means no active treatment is initiated but that doctors and patients monitor signs and symptoms.
  • Surgery, which may include removal of the prostate (prostatectomy), cryotherapy (freezing prostate tissue), or TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate).
  • Radiation Therapy, which can be external or internal (use of seeds implanted into the prostate that emit radiation).
  • Hormone therapy, which can include the use of drugs to block the production and activity of hormones, or surgery to remove the testicles.
  • Chemotherapy to kill prostate cancer cells that no longer respond to hormone therapy.
  • Ultrasound (HIFU) – High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU, an emerging therapy that destroys tissue with rapid heat that is focused on the malignancy in the prostate gland.

In addition to the traditional treatment options there are also various alternative treatments that are sometimes used in conjunction with changes to diet and lifestyle. Supplements for prostate cancer may also included as part of a general program to maintain and boost immunity.


More on What is Prostate Cancer.

Created: August 30, 2010

Site last updated 11 February, 2016

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