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Prostate Cancer: What Every Man Needs to Know

August 09, 2019

Prostate Cancer: What Every Man Needs to Know

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men and is often treated successfully. One-hundred percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer can expect to survive five or more years. More than 2 million men living in the U.S. today are prostate cancer survivors.

The American Cancer Society recommends men discuss the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening with their primary care physician before getting screened. Screenings should not take place without having this discussion.

For men who are at average risk of developing prostate cancer and expected to live at least 10 more years, this informed discussion should occur at age 50.

For men at high risk of developing prostate cancer (such as African-American men and men who have a father, brother, or son diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65), the informed discussion should take place at age 45.

For men who have more than one close male relative (father, brother, son) with prostate cancer that was diagnosed before age 65, the informed discussion should take place at age 40.

“Screenings include a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE),” says Jorge Arzola, MD, a urologist with Kettering Physician Network’s South Dayton Urological Associates. “The screening is repeated every one to two years, depending on the PSA level. Because prostate cancer often grows slowly, men without symptoms of prostate cancer and with less than a 10-year life expectancy are not likely to benefit from testing.”

Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer

Early-stage prostate cancer usually has no symptoms. Advanced prostate cancers can cause some symptoms, such as:

  • Problems passing urine, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night
  • Blood in the urine
  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control

Other diseases cause many of these same symptoms. Still, it is important to tell your doctor if you have any of these problems so the cause is found and treated.

Treatment for prostate cancer

The treatments for prostate cancer range from frequent check-ups to surgery, radiation therapy, cryotherapy (freezing), hormone therapy, vaccine, and chemotherapy used one at a time or in combination.

Most men find it helpful to discuss all of their treatment options with a team of specialized doctors to make a decision that best fits their needs. The types of doctors who treat prostate cancer include:

  • Urologists: Surgeons who specialize in the urinary system and male reproductive system
  • Radiation oncologists: Doctors who treat cancer with radiation therapy
  • Medical oncologists: Doctors who treat cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy

For more information on cancer care, visit our oncology page.