When it’s caught early, prostate cancer can be cured.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in American men.2 But it grows slowly, and most men can beat it, with treatment.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a small gland in men that is part of the reproductive system. It’s about the shape and size of a walnut. The prostate helps make semen, which carries sperm from the testicles.
Are you at risk for prostate cancer?
A lot of men with prostate cancer don’t have symptoms until their cancer gets worse. That’s why you should know your risks:
- Age – About three out of every five prostate cancers are found in men over 65.
- Family history – Men whose fathers or brothers have prostate cancer are twice as likely to have it.
- Race – Men of African descent are more likely to get prostate cancer than men of other races.
- Weight – Being very overweight can lead to a delay in finding the cancer, so it has more time to grow.
- Diet – Men who eat a lot of red meat and high-fat dairy, and don’t eat many fruits and vegetables, have a higher risk of getting prostate cancer.
Getting checked for prostate cancer
There is a blood test, called the prostate specific antigen (PSA), to screen for prostate cancer. It tests for raised levels of PSA, a protein made by the prostate.
The decision about whether to be screened for prostate cancer is an individual one; men should discuss with their doctor the potential benefits and harms of prostate — specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer.
Because prostate cancer grows so slowly, some men choose not to have screenings, or choose not to treat their prostate cancer if they do have it. This is a decision you should make after talking with your doctor.
While most men don’t notice any symptoms, men who do notice some of these:
- Urinating a lot, especially at night
- Trouble starting or controlling urination, weak or interrupted flow, or pain
- Trouble getting an erection
- Painful ejaculation, or blood or urine in semen
- Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
When caught early, nine in ten prostate cancers can be cured.
- Checking the cancer for signs that it is getting worse. Since prostate cancer grows slowly, sometimes men will not have treatment at this early stage to avoid the side effects.
- Surgery. The prostate gland and some nearby tissue are removed.
- Radiation. Radioactive beams or metal pellets kill the cancer cells.
- Cryosurgery. Instead of removing the prostate, surgeons destroy it using very cold gas.
- Hormone therapy. The cancer stops growing or shrinks, so it is easier to treat.
- Chemotherapy, if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
- Vaccination. The immune system is triggered to attack prostate cancer cells in the body
For more information about prostate cancer, visit the American Cancer Society online at cancer.org, or call 1-800-227-2345. Or, visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation site at pcf.org.