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Stay Informed about Prostate Cancer for Men’s Health Month

By Sheldon L. Axelrod, MD | Urology 

This month is Men’s Health Month, and there’s no better time to learn about prostate cancer, the second most common cancer in men in the U.S. after skin cancer. Prostate cancer is a serious disease, but with education, early detection and careful management, the vast majority of men with prostate cancer will survive the disease and enjoy a high quality of life after treatment.

Get to know prostate cancer stats

According to the American Cancer Society, one of every seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.  The disease tends to strike older men, with almost 2 out of every 3 prostate cancers found in men age 65 or older.

Older men, African-American men, and men with a first-degree relative who was diagnosed with prostate cancer (father, brother or son) have a greater risk for developing the disease.

Should you be screened for prostate cancer?

Screening for prostate cancer can find early-stage disease, when treatment may be more effective. The main screening tools for prostate cancer are digital rectal examination (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The American Cancer Society recommends that physicians discuss the benefit of PSA screening with men over age 50 who have a life expectancy greater than 10 years.  This is because most prostate cancers develops slowly and don’t cause troubling symptoms or threaten survival for 8 to 10 years.

Based on your individual risk for the disease, your lifestyle, and your age, you and your doctor can decide how often you should be screened and at what age those screenings should begin.

Most prostate cancers that are found by screening are small and slow growing and may not be fatal. Men who have been found to have a faster growing prostate cancer will benefit from early treatment.

Treatment for prostate cancer

Not all prostate cancers need to be treated.  Carefully watching (active surveillance) can be useful in men with very early stage prostate cancer.

When treatment is required, several options are available including radiation therapy, hormone therapy and the surgical removal of the prostate, which is the most effective option.  Prostate surgery is currently performed using the less invasive technique of robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery.

Prostate cancer care at CareMount Medical

CareMount Medical’s Urology group has seven board certified urologists with extensive experience in the diagnosis and management of prostate cancer and a strong support team.  We use a high-power 3 Tesla MRI that is very useful in the diagnosis and staging of prostate cancer. Caremount Medical’s pathologists are speciality-trained in urologic pathology to ensure that you receive an accurate diagnosis.  We perform a large number of robotic procedures and work in affiliated hospitals that are equipped with the latest state-of-the-art robotic systems.

Discussion topics for you and your doctor

To determine if you are at risk for prostate cancer and if screening is right for you, we welcome you to meet with the Urology team at CareMount Medical.  We can help you answer:

  • What is my risk for prostate cancer?
  • At what age should I start to think about screening?
  • If I get my PSA test, and it is not normal, what other things could I have besides prostate cancer?
  • What is a biopsy, and how is it done?
  • What are the side effects or risks of a biopsy?
  • If my biopsy shows some cancer cells, what does that mean?
  • What are the treatment options, and what are the side effects or risks of each treatment?