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What is Prostate Cancer by Andrea Fobert

By at November 13, 2013 | 9:18 am | Print

Prostate cancer is the abnormal growth of cancer cells within the prostate, a gland in men that carries sperm and produces the majority of semen. Although it is rare in men under the age fifty, it is a crucial health concern for men of all ages. One-third of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men under the age of sixty-five. This disease is more likely to be less aggressive in men the older they are, which contributes to why many men die of other causes without knowing they have it. There are a few known factors that aid to the development of prostate cancer such as unhealthy diet, low exercise, and family history.

Symptoms usually are not prominent unless in advanced stages of prostate cancer. Early symptoms may be associated with the urinary tract and discomfort. Once the gland is swollen there are many symptoms that may occur, such as: increased urge for urination, difficulty to start or stop stream, weak flow, urine secretion due to laughing or coughing, unable to stand during urination, pain/burning during urination/ejaculation, or blood in urine or semen.  Symptoms associated with advanced stage are: deep pain in pelvis or lower back, fatigue, nausea, loss of weight/appetite, vomiting, swelling of lower extremities, and weakness in the lower limbs.

Staging prostate cancer is determined on how prominent the cancer cells are. Although it is a slow growing cancer and can stay stationary in the prostate for many years, once it spreads it becomes incurable. Eighty-five percent of American men are diagnosed before the cancer spreads throughout the body and becomes extremely dangerous. Cancer can spread through invasion, the lymphatic system, or by metastasis. Invasion is when the cancer cells grow into the tissues close by and take over. Metastasis is the transportation of cancer cells into other tissues throughout the body by the blood. Several tests may be done to help determine the stage such as: a digital rectal exam, blood test used to detect prostate specific antigens (PSA), transrectal ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, or surgery to examine lymph nodes. Stage one is found only in the prostate and is microscopic. Stage two consists of a tumor localized in the prostate only. Stage three involves near by tissues that have been affected outside the prostate. Lastly, stage four is the spread of cancer outside the prostate and found in other regions of the body.

A biopsy is also a common tool to help doctors determine the best form of treatment. The prostate tissue will be examined and given a grade based on severity of the tumor pattern, which is called a Gleason Score. Grade one is that of normal tissue, while grades two through four have some normal and abnormal cells. Grade five and above have apparent abnormal growth. The higher the Gleason Score the more likely the cancer is to grow and spread. Scores seven and higher offer extreme concern due to the fact that these are the more aggressive cancers.

Treatment options may vary depending on the age, stage, grade, and lifestyle of the patient. Early stages can be treated with surgery to remove the prostate, radiation therapy, and active surveillance. However, active surveillance is usually only a positive option for men over the age of seventy because of the slow growth of the cancer. Once prostate cancer has reached advanced stages, treatment options become more control options then curable options. Nevertheless, treatment may consist of surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy.

Once diagnosed with prostate cancer, like all cancers, it is very important to be proactive about treatment. Prostate health is critical for men over the age of fifty, and regular prostate exams should be treated as a priority. These exams are the matter of catching prostate cancer at an early stage, which has the ability to be treated properly and save ones life. Stress management, a healthy diet, and regular exercise have a great positive influence on prevention as well.




“Prostate Cancer Health Center”. WebMD. 2005. Web. 6 October 2013. <www.>.

“Prostate Cancer Overview”. American Cancer Society. 2013. Web. 6 October 2013.


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  1. […] Prostate cancer, by definition, is a type of cancer that forms in the tissues of the prostate. It is also the second most common type of cancer among men in the United States. In 2013 alone, nearly a quarter million new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed, and close to 30,000 men lost their lives to its devastating effects. […]

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