It seems like almost everyone has been touched by prostate cancer, either personally or knows someone who is battled with this disease. But many people do not know what the prostate gland is, its function, or why prostate cancer is so prevalent. In this article I hope to give you some pertinent information to help you or your loved ones cut down the chances of obtaining this disease.
Prostate cancer is a serious health concern for American men. This disease it the second leading cause of death due to cancer in American males, after lung cancer. This disease is not usually found before age 50, but experts believe that most elderly men have a trace of it. The Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER), provides information on cancer statistics and states that in 2003-2007, the median age at diagnosis for cancer of the prostate, was 67 years of age. The median age at death for cancer during the same time period was
80 years of age. According to the American Cancer Society, the estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with the disease is 17.6% for Caucasians and 20.6% for African Americans. The lifetime risk of death from prostate cancer similarly is 2.8% and 4.7% respectively. As reflected in these numbers, prostate cancer is likely to impact the lives of a significant proportion of men that are alive today.
What is the Prostate Gland?
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is located just below the bladder. One function of the prostate gland is to help control urination by pressing directly against the part of the urethra that it surrounds. The main function of the prostate gland is to produce some of the substances that are found in normal semen, such as minerals and sugar. Semen is the fluid that transports the sperm to assist with reproduction.
What Causes Prostate Cancer?
The cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but there are predisposing factors involved with obtaining the disease. As mentioned earlier aging plays a major role, genetics (hereditary), hormonal influences, and environmental pollutions such as toxins, chemicals and industrial products.
Diagnosis and Treatments for Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer in its early stages can be cured. Fortunately, about 85 % of American men with prostate cancer are diagnosed in the early stages. The Mayo Clinic states that Screening tests are often part of a routine physical exam, especially in men over age 40. Your doctor may also recommend screening tests because of symptoms pointing to a prostate problem. Screening tests may include Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test (which is done through blood lab work), Biopsy of the prostate, and Ultrasound.
Cancer that has spread beyond the prostate to distant tissues (such as lymph nodes, lungs, and bones) is not curable, but it can often be controlled for many years. Since there have been many advances in treatment available to prostate cancer patients, the majority of the men whose prostate cancer becomes widespread can expect to live five years or more.
There are many different ways to treat prostate cancer, ranging from surgery, radiation treatment, hormone therapy, to chemotherapy. The choice of treatment depends on the patient’s health, age, expected life span, and personal preferences as well as on the stage and grade of cancer and the anticipated effects of treatment. Sometimes a combination of treatments is used.
Prevention of Prostate Cancer
Some of the risk factors of prostate cancer can be avoided, but some cannot. For example you can choose to stop smoking, but you have no control over which genes you inherit from your parents. So the best thing to do is to keep open communication with your doctor and talk to your doctor about ways to lower your chances of obtaining prostate cancer, and make sure to have annual checkups.
If you have questions concerning this article please contact your health care provider or feel free to give Dr. Bean a call at Bean Chiropractic (916) 447-2200. You may also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sidney B. Bean, DC
Bean Chiropractic, 2716 V Street , Sacramento, CA 95818