What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer affects 1 in 9 American men. In it’s early stages, it can be asymptomatic (without symptoms), and contained within the prostate gland. Early detection continues to improve as men adhere to screening recommendations. However, due to its high incidence, prostate cancer is a significant health-care problem, and a leading cancer among men.
Current guidelines suggest that men begin prostate screening when they reach their 50s. For African American men, and men who have family history of this cancer, screening should begin by the age of 40. Today, the average age of men being diagnosed is 66.
When prostate cancer develops, it is generally diagnosed as an adenocarcinoma – a cancer that develops in mucus-secreting glands such as the prostate. However, it can also be classified as:
- Age – Risk increases with age. The average age for initial diagnoses is 66.
- Race and/or Ethnicity – African-American men are more often affected than men of other races. Men who are Asian-American or Hispanic/Latino experience fewer cases than non-Hispanic whites.
- Nationality – This cancer is more prevalent in North America, parts of Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia.
- Family History and/or Genetics – This is one among several hereditary cancers. Any man with close relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer is at an increased risk.
- Diet and Obesity – Scientists continue to study the role of diet and obesity with cancer risk.
- Smoking – Scientists continue to study how smoking affects this cancer’s incidence and death.
- Exposure to Chemicals – The link between prostate cancer and Agent Orange exposure, during the Vietnam War, continues to be studied.
Diagnosis and treatment
The baseline diagnostic tools used for screening include the PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). The PSA blood test screens for high levels of the prostate specific antigen protein in blood. The DRE is a physical examination of the prostate’s size and shape. Unusual nodules can also be located during this exam.
Early detection is key to diagnosing and effectively treating prostate cancer. If you would like to schedule an evaluation, contact the Urology Austin office nearest you.
Centers for Disease Control – Prostate Cancer Statistics