Approximately 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States during 2018 and about 29,430 will die from the disease. About 1 man in 9 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, making it the most common non-skin malignancy in men. It is responsible for more deaths than any other cancer, except lung cancer.
By age 50, about one-third of American men have microscopic signs of prostate cancer. By age 75, half to three-quarters of men will have some cancerous changes in their prostate glands. Most of these cancers remain latent, producing no signs of symptoms, or are so indolent, or slow-growing, that they never become a serious threat to health.
A much smaller number of men will actually be treated for prostate cancer. Survival rates have increased dramatically over the years. About 16 percent of American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lives; 8 percent will develop significant symptoms; and 3 percent will die of the disease. The 15-year relative survival rate is 96%.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the prostate. The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). The prostate gland produces fluid that makes up part of the semen.
Warning Signs and Risk Factors
Warning signs of prostate cancer may not be evident until the later stages of prostate cancer. However, if you have general urinary symptoms (such as difficulty or frequent urinating), erectile dysfunction or severe pain in the back/hips/chest, those are symptoms of prostate cancer that should be evaluated by your healthcare provider. Symptoms of prostate cancer may be similar to those of BPH, a non-cancerous condition that occurs due to an enlarged prostate gland.
The causes of prostate cancer are largely unknown. It is clear that the chances of developing prostate cancer increase in men over 50. Close relatives of men who have had prostate cancer are also more likely to be affected. Ethnic origin appears to play a part: African-American men seem to be at highest risk, and men of Far Eastern descent at the lowest.
After a diagnosis of prostate cancer, a man and his family face several choices regarding treatment. Decisions involve many factors, personal as well as medical. Before making these decisions, it is very important to learn about all the options available. With this knowledge, a newly diagnosed prostate cancer patient can participate more confidently with his doctor in planning his individual treatment.
Treatment options and prognosis depend on the stage of the cancer, the Gleason score, and the patient’s age and general health. With greater public awareness, early detection is on the rise and mortality rates are declining. New advances in medical technology enable cancer patients to go on to live active and productive lives after their treatment.
Treatment options for prostate cancer include:
- Observation/watchful waiting
- Surgical options
- Hormonal therapy
- Radiation therapy
Community Has the Answers
Urologists work closely with Community's certified cancer care specialists during prostate cancer treatment. Call 800-777-7775 for a referral to a urologist or cancer physician at Community Health Network.