Topic of the Month: Prostate Cancer
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is a malignant tumor that begins in the prostate gland. Some prostate cancers grow very slowly and may not cause symptoms or problems for years. Many times, when a man develops prostate cancer much later in life, it is unlikely to cause symptoms or shorten the man’s life, and aggressive treatment may not be needed. For this reason, early detection for prostate cancer with prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing in men who don’t have symptoms of the disease is controversial. PSA is found in higher-than-normal levels in men with various prostate conditions, including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, an enlarged prostate), inflammation or infection of the prostate, and prostate cancer.
What are Prostate Cancer Risk Factors?
All men are at risk for developing prostate cancer. About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, but only one man in 36 will die of this disease. About 80 percent of men who reach age 80 have prostate cancer cells in their prostate. Besides being male, there are other factors, such as age, race, and family history that may contribute to the risk.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Screening -- or testing to find a disease in people without symptoms -- can help find some types of cancer early, when it’s more easily treated. But for some men, the risks of prostate cancer screening may outweigh the benefits. Asking questions is an important step in deciding whether to be screened.
How is Prostate Cancer Treated?
It is important to discuss the goals and possible side effects of treatment with your doctor before treatment begins, including the likelihood that the treatment will work, the possible side effects (including urinary, bowel, sexual, and hormone-related side effects), and the patient’s preferences. Men should talk with their doctor about how the various treatments affect recurrence, survival, and quality of life. In addition, the success of any treatment often depends on the skill and expertise of the physician or surgeon, so it is important to find doctors who have experience treating prostate cancer.
Familial Prostate Cancer Screening Program at the Lurie Cancer Center
The Familial Prostate Cancer Screening Program is designed to provide men with a family history of prostate cancer with a state-of-the-art-and-beyond clinical testing program that will also allow researchers to collect valuable research materials to advance the field of prostate cancer research in the future.
Read more about our Familial Prostate Cancer Screening Program
Prostate Cancer Risk for African-American Men
African-American men have the highest risk of prostate cancer in the United States. They also have the highest risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer and the highest prostate cancer mortality rates. There are two predominant theories as to why African-American men have a higher risk of prostate cancer: genetics and health care access.
Questions to Ask the Doctor about Prostate Cancer
These suggested questions are a starting point to help you learn more about your cancer care and treatment. You are also encouraged to ask additional questions that are important to you.
Clinical Trials at the Lurie Cancer Center
If you have been diagnosed with cancer and are considering taking part in a clinical trial, the following information may help you make a treatment decision that is right for you.
- National Cancer Institute (NCI): What You Need to Know about Prostate Cancer
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines for Patients with Prostate Cancer
- 10 Things African-Americans Should Know about Prostate Cancer