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Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer, and it is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in men. It occurs when the cells in the prostate gland grow out of control.

Initially, these cells may spread within the prostate, but can break through the wall of the prostate gland and spread to neighboring organs, or travel through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

Some of the Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer Are:

Age: According to the American Cancer Society, 60% of prostate cancer is diagnosed in men aged 65 and older. Therefore, 40% of prostate cancers are diagnosed at an earlier age but infrequently before the age of 40. 

Family History: There is an increased risk when immediate family members have the disease. Familial prostate cancer develops from a combination of lifestyle factors, shared genes and shared environmental factors. Hereditary prostate cancer is caused when genetic changes or mutations are passed down through generations of the same family. There is a higher risk of developing prostate cancer if a family member (man or woman) has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, or has Lynch Syndrome.

Diet: A diet including a lot of red meat and/or high-fat dairy products can put men at a greater risk.

Exercise: Men who do not regularly exercise may have increased risk.

Race: African American men have greater incidence and death rates.

Chemical Exposure: Agent Orange exposure (chemical agent used during the Vietnam War) has been shown to be a risk factor for prostate cancer.

Signs and symptoms are often not present in the early stages of prostate cancer, but can include:

  • Impotence
  • Blood in the urine
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Urinating more frequently especially at night
  • Pain in the spine, hips, ribs or other bones
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

Screening & Diagnosis

Men are encouraged to share their family and personal health history with their physician so that an informed decision can be made about participation in an early prostate detection program. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends that healthy men, with average risk, begin a discussion with their primary care physician about the benefits of a baseline PSA (prostate specific antigen) screening at the age of 45 and a DRE (digital rectal exam).

Helpful Patient Resources:

We understand that receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a very scary and it is an emotional time for the patient and their families. It is very important to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your oncologist. We highly recommend that if you do any research about your disease, that you do so only with reputable sources. For your convenience, we’ve listed some below.

National Cancer Institute:

Prostate Cancer - Patient Version

American Cancer Society:

Prostate Cancer

National Comprehensive Cancer Network:

Guidelines for Patients