What is the prostate?
The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that contributes
to the fluid that makes up semen. The walnut-sized gland is located beneath
a man’s bladder. Prostate cancer is a major health concern for American men.
What cause prostate cancer?
On a case-by-case bases, doctors cannot say with certainty what causes
prostate cancer, but some experts generally agree that diet- particularly
diets high in fat- contributes to the risk. No proven link exits between
prostate cancer and an active sex life, vasectomy, masturbation, use of
alcohol or tobacco, circumcision or infertility.
What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?
The greatest risk factor is age. Prostate cancer affects mainly older men.
Four out of five cases are diagnosed in men over age 65, but less than
1 percent in men under 50. Men whose relative have had prostate cancer
are considered to be at high risk; having a father or brother with the
disease more than double your risk. Prostate cancer occurs about 60 percent
more often in African American men than in Caucasians. Research also suggests
that high dietary fact may be contributing factor.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
The best way to detect prostate cancer in its early stages is with regular
digital prostate exams and prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood tests. The
American Urological Association recommended screening all men beginning at age 40 with annual PSA and
What are the treatments?
Since prostate cancer is often slow growing and may not be fatal in many
men, some men – after discussing the options with their doctors-opt
for “active surveillance.” This involves monitoring the prostate
cancer for signs that it is becoming more aggressive in order to avoid
some of the side effects from treatment. This approach used to be recommended
for men who were older or had a short life expectancy, but is being used
more commonly in younger men with no sign of aggressive disease. Depending
on the stage of the disease at time of diagnosis, treatment may include
a single therapy, or some combination of surgery, radiation therapy and
hormone therapy. Localized prostate cancer can usually be cured with surgery
or radiation therapy. The standard operation– a radical prostatectomy-
involves removal of the prostate and seminal vesicle and the reconstructing
the bladder neck and urethra. The
robotic prostatectomy is a newer technique in which the surgery is performed by robotic arms
controlled by the surgeon. This is as effective as open surgery with quicker
recovery and less blood loss.