There May Be A Genetic Link To Prostate Cancer
Age and lifestyle can contribute to the development of prostate cancer. However, studies show that hereditary factors can be a cause. A BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation has been proven to lead to prostate cancer . Learn more about the gene panel tests that can find cancer-associated mutations. Men who have other males in their families that have been diagnosed with prostate cancer should monitor themselves closely and consult their physician to look for the signs of prostate cancer.
Researchers are not completely sure of the exact connection between the BRCA gene and this type of cancer. Still, they have found that men with this gene mutation increase the likelihood of a prostate cancer diagnosis.
Myth: Prostate Cancer Is Always Curable
FACT: When prostate cancer is diagnosed early, and the cancer is confined to the prostate, cure rates are high, explained Dr. Hu. However, when prostate cancer is diagnosed after it has spread beyond the prostate, then its more difficult to cure.
In general, the sooner the cancer is detected and treated, the better the outcome.
If you receive a prostate cancer diagnosis, Dr. Hu suggests educating yourself with credible sources of informationincluding the American Cancer Society and National Comprehensive Cancer Network. A prostate cancer diagnosis may cause depression and anxiety, Dr. Hu said, however, it is good to keep in mind that there are numerous options and prognosis is generally good. Although there are many resources online and from books, it is best to consult a specialist for reliable, evidence-based information and support.
Most Men Survive A Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
Several different prostate cancer treatments exist, and they can be used alone or in conjunction with one another to create highly individualized and effective treatment plans. So although prostate cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer diagnosed in American men, it also has one of the best survival rates.
According to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database maintained by the National Cancer Institute, all stages of prostate cancer have a combined survival rate of 97.8%. For local and regional stages of prostate cancer, where cancer has not spread at all or far beyond the prostate gland, the survival rate is nearly 100%.
Having a high survival rate is in part attributed to the fact that it can be found early and carefully monitored through regular screening.
The American Cancer Society recommends all men start prostate cancer screening by age 50 at the latest. Screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society for prostate cancer are as follows:
- Age 50 for men who have an average risk of prostate cancer
- Age 45 for men with a high risk of prostate cancer .
- Age 40 for men with a very high risk for prostate cancer .
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There Are Things You Can Do To Help Reduce Your Risk Of Developing Prostate Cancer
While theres no way to completely cancer-proof your body, adopting these lifestyle habits may help lessen your chance of developing it:
Eat a Mediterranean-style diet. Think plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes and nuts, and heart-healthy fats like olive oil and fatty fish. According to a study published earlier this year in The Journal of Urology, men who adhere to such a diet have less risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer than those who eat a more Western diet.
Maintain a healthy weight. Research shows that being overweight or obese raises the risk of advanced prostate cancer, according to a recent report released by the World Cancer Research Fund. A study presented this January at the American Association for Cancer Researchs Special Conference also found that men who’ve had prostate cancer in the past have a higher chance of recurrence if they are obese.
Exercise. Men who regularly break a sweat have a slightly lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.
Don’t fall for unsubstantiated hype. You may have heard that taking supplements, such as vitamin E or selenium, may lower your risk of developing prostate cancer, but theres no research to support this. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that popping vitamin E supplements could actually increase your prostate cancer risk.
Your Prostate Has Four Areas
The prostate gland contains four areas, or zones.
The peripheral zone is the largest segment, containing about 75% of the glands in the prostate. Most prostate cancer occurs in the peripheral zone and is the site where most needle biopsies are taken. The peripheral zone contains the majority of the prostatic tissue.
The central zone of the prostate gland is the area that surrounds the ejaculatory ducts. Less than 5% of prostate cancers originate here. However, if prostate cancer does originate here, it is more aggressive and can metastasize to the seminal vesicles.
The transition zone surrounds the urethra in the place where it enters the prostate. This part of the prostate grows in adult men and is responsible for BPH, or the enlarged prostate. Around 20% of cancers originate here.
The fourth zone is the anterior fibromuscular storma.
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What Increases Your Risk Of Prostate Cancer
Factors that can elevate risk prostate cancer include:
- A family history of prostate cancer
- Inherited genetic mutations, such as BRCA1/BRCA2 genes and Lynch syndrome
- Conditions such as prostatitis, inflammation of the prostate, and benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland
- A diet high in red meats and high-fat dairy and low in fruits and vegetables
- Age: approximately 60 percent of cases are diagnosed in men older than 65
- Race and ethnicity: African-American men and Caribbean men of African ancestry are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer
Research has also shown that a healthy lifestyle, including a well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight, may reduce prostate cancer risk.
Its Easier To Diagnose Today
Thanks to new testing techniques, such as a test that is called the PCA3, prostate cancer is easier to detect in its early stages. This test helps to detect proteins that only cancer cells produce when prostate cancer is present. Its got about an 80% accuracy rate and is usually followed with a biopsy for confirmation.
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There Are Several Treatment Options Available
Many of the treatments for prostate cancer have minimal or no side effects. Removing the prostate can effectively solve the problem, but freezing or heat treatments can also destroy the glands. Radiotherapy might also be used. The survival rates are similar and thanks to modern medical techniques, most serious side effects have become a thing of the past.
Are You At Risk
In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Find out more about your risk.
See and share our infographic on prostate cancer risk.
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Top Ten Facts About Prostate Cancer
The Prostate Cancer Detection Scam
The early detection-to-treatment agenda promoted by urologists using PSA-based screening of healthy males is a scam because it fails to detect early enough the all-important potentially lethal high-risk prostate cancers. Although these high-grade prostate cancers are more common in older men, their medical comorbidities and life expectancy can make evaluation and treatment a questionable exercise.
PSA-based screening lacks credibility for several reasons. First and foremost, the PSA marker fails to meet the criteria necessary to function as an effective screening tool as it fails to detect at least 80% of the all important, potentially lethal high-grade cancers early enough for possible curative therapy as these cancers often make little or no PSA. Instead, PSA-based screening leads to the detection of mainly benign prostate and non-lethal cancers like the Gleason 6 disease. Second, the PSA limits of 0-4 ng/l for what is considered normal are highly unreliable and, lack scientific validation. As well, the PSA is non-cancer specific and, the digital rectal examination component of this screening lineup is about as reliable as a coin-toss for detecting cancer.
Just as unreliable as everything else in this prostate cancer detection scam is the transrectal ultrasound guided needle biopsy of the prostate. Not only is the so-called standard 12-core biopsy of the prostate uncomfortable and risky but, it is blind and purely random, sampling only some 0.1-0.3% of the prostate.
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Prostate Cancer Can Be Emotionally Devastating
Being diagnosed with any type of cancer can be overwhelming, but men with prostate cancer may be particularly vulnerable to mental distress.
Men tend to internalize their emotions, and so we often dont have the tools to handle stressors, says Sumit Subudhi, M.D., Ph.D., a prostate cancer specialist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. This is particularly true with prostate cancer, which impacts functions like urination and erectionssubjects most men arent comfortable talking about in general.
Men who undergo hormone therapyduring which theyre deprived of the testosterone that may be fueling their cancerhave higher rates of depression than men who receive other forms of treatment.
In addition, men who undergo hormone therapyduring which theyre deprived of the testosterone that may be fueling their cancerhave higher rates of depression than men who receive other forms of treatment, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Testosterone helps boost mood and overall emotional well-being, explains Dr. Subudhi.
Prostate Cancer Is More Common Than You Might Realize
Located under the bladder and behind the rectum, the prostate is a walnut-sized male reproductive gland that makes fluid for semen. In some men, cancer cells can begin to form in the prostate and grow out of control.
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Risk Of Prostate Cancer
About 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Prostate cancer is more likely to develop in older men and in non-Hispanic Black men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older, and it is rare in men under 40. The average age of men at diagnosis is about 66.
Location Of The Prostate Gland
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut. The prostate gland surrounds the neck of a mans bladder and urethra the tube that carries urine from the bladder. It is partly muscular and partly glandular, with ducts opening into the prostatic portion of the urethra.
It is made up of three lobes: a center lobe with one lobe on each side.
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How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed
Screenings are the most effective way to catch prostate cancer early. If you are at average cancer risk, youll probably have your first prostate screening at age 55. Your healthcare provider may start testing earlier if you have a family history of the disease or are Black. Screening is generally stopped after age 70, but may be continued in certain circumstances.
Screening tests for prostate cancer include:
- Digital rectal exam: Your provider inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum and feels the prostate gland, which sits in front of the rectum. Bumps or hard areas could indicate cancer.
- Prostate-specific antigen blood test: The prostate gland makes a protein called protein-specific antigen . Elevated PSA levels may indicate cancer. Levels also rise if you have BPH or prostatitis.
- Biopsy: A needle biopsy to sample tissue for cancer cells is the only sure way to diagnose prostate cancer. During an MRI-guided prostate biopsy, magnetic resonance imaging technology provides detailed images of the prostate.
What Is The Prostate
The prostate is a gland. It is usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the body. The prostate’s main job is to help make semen the fluid that carries sperm.
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The Top 10 Facts You Need To Know
Here is a simple list of the most important facts everyone should know about prostate cancer:
Content on this page last reviewed and updated May 17, 2009.
Myth: Surgery Is My Only Treatment Option
FACT: Surgery is one of many treatment options for prostate cancer. Partial gland ablation is an increasingly popular treatment option, explained Dr. Hu, as well as high-intensity focused ultrasound.
Dr. Hu emphasized that there is little long-term data about the minimally invasive treatments, so men who opt for this treatment should be followed very closely. Treating just part, and not the entire prostate, is a new treatment option, available at select medical centers in the US.
Partial gland ablation is an increasingly popular treatment option. In men who have prostate cancer limited to one area within the prostate, the ability to use heat or cold to kill just those prostate cancer cells limits the side effects, time off work, etc. This procedure is done as an in-office procedure with cryotherapy to kill prostate cancer cells within a portion of the prostate. The procedure lasts about 45 minutes, and patients can typically resume their normal activities the very next day. Men who chose this option do require future MRI imaging of the prostate and repeat biopsies to ensure that they are cancer free.
High-intensity focused ultrasound is a minimally invasive and non-surgical therapy that uses focused ultrasound waves to heat and destroy prostate tissue. Just as intensified light can cause powerful heating, focused ultrasound waves create heat that is used to kill specific tissues within the prostate.
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Prostate Cancer Can Affect Younger Men Too
While it’s true that the average age of prostate cancer diagnosis is 66 years old, younger men can also be diagnosed. The truth is, that prostate cancer in younger men is often more aggressive and can spread faster, and it makes it more difficult to treat. Because of this, men aged 40 and over should be especially aware of any changes in their health. Some symptoms of prostate cancer to be aware of include:
- Frequent urination
- The sudden need to urinate in the middle of the night
- Pain or burning during urination
Screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society include:
- Age 50 for men who have an average risk of prostate cancer
- Age 45 for men with a high risk of prostate cancer. High-risk factors include having an immediate family member under the age of 65 who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer or if you are an African American.