INTRODUCTION: Prostate cancer is cancer of the small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces seminal fluid, the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. It is also the second most common type of cancer among men in this country and is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages.
Prostate cancer typically occurs in older men and is seldom found in men under the age of 40. It occurs in 1 out of 6 men and when confined to the gland is usually treated successfully.
RISK: All men are at risk for developing prostate cancer. Besides being male, there are other factors, such as age, race, and family history that may contribute to the risk. Men at higher risk include African-America men older than 60,farmers, tire plant workers, painters, and men exposed to cadmium. The risk for developing it rises significantly with age, and 60% of newly diagnosed cases occur in men over the age of 70.
The greatest risk factor is your age. This risk increases greatly after the age of 50 in caucasian men who have no family record of the disease and after the age of 40 in black men and males who have a close relative with the cancer. Having a brother with the disease appears to increase your risk more than having an affected father does. That risk is even greater when there are multiple family members affected.
SYMPTOMS: May include Problems passing urine, such as pain, difficulty starting or stopping the stream, or dribbling, Low back pain, Pain with ejaculation. Many men experience no symptoms; the first indication that they may have the disease is often an abnormal finding on a routine screening exam. Symptoms are more likely to appear as the cancer grows.
TREATMENT: Can include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or control of hormones that affect the cancer. Treatment frequently depends on the stage of the cancer. The appropriate treatment is very often controversial.
Surgery is usually only recommended after a thorough evaluation and discussion of all possible treatment options. Chemotherapy is often used to treat the ones that are resistant to hormonal treatments. Gland Removal is often recommended for treatment of stages A and B.
CONCLUSION: Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer in men of all ages and is the most common cause of death from cancer in men over 75 years old. Often there are no symptoms in its early stages. If it has spread, it may be treated with drugs to reduce testosterone levels, surgery to remove the testes, or chemotherapy.
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