Resources at Hebrew SeniorLife

Prostate Cancer

Each year, nearly 219,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Approximately 27,000 will die from the disease. In fact, 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and almost 80 percent men over 80 years of age will get develop it.

Howard Nachamie, M.D., a geriatrician at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, says that patients have a better chance for successful treatment and minimal or short-term side effects if prostate cancer is detected early, when it is confined to the prostate gland.

Definition

Cancer of the small, walnut-shaped gland in men that produces seminal fluid 

Causes

The causes of prostate cancer and why some types behave differently than others are unknown

Symptoms

  • Dull pain the lower pelvic area
  • Urgent urination
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Painful urination
  • Weak urine flow or dribbling
  • Frequent urination at night
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Loss of appetite and weight

Risk Factors

  • Age (risk increases significantly after age 50)
  • Family history
  • Race (African-Americans are at higher risk)
  • Diet high in fat
  • High levels of testosterone

Diagnosis

  • Digital rectal exam
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test
  • Transrectal ultrasound
  • Prostate biopsy
  • Bone scan to detect if cancer has spread to the bones
  • Lymph node biopsy to determine if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes

Treatment

  • External-beam radiation therapy
  • Prostatectomy
  • Brachytherapy
  • Hormone therapy to stop the production of male hormones that can stimulate the growth of cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Watchful waiting

Glossary

Biopsy - the removal and examination of tissue, cells or fluids from the living body.

Brachytherapy - the implantation of radioactive seeds into the prostate gland to deliver a higher dose of radiation than external-beam radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy - the use of medications, delivered intravenously, to destroy rapidly growing cancer cells.

Cryotherapy - the use of small probes to destroy cells by freezing tissue.

Digital rectal exam- the insertion of a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to examine the texture, shape and size of the prostate gland.

External-beam radiation therapy - the use of high-powered X-rays to kill cancer cells, using a machine to deliver the radiation beam.

Lymph node- small, bean-shaped organs of the immune system, which are found throughout the body and are involved in the immune system's fight against infection.

Prostate gland - a gland of the male reproductive system that produces seminal fluid.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test - a blood test that analyzes PSA, a protein produced by the prostate gland; higher than normal levels may indicate prostate infection, inflammation, enlargement or cancer.

Prostatectomy - surgical removal of the prostate gland.

Seminal fluid - fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.

Testosterone - a male hormone produced by the testes that encourages the development of male sexual characteristics.

Transrectal ultrasound - a procedure in which a small probe is inserted into the rectum to take pictures of the prostate gland.

Links

American Cancer Society - www.cancer.org
Prostate Cancer Foundation - www.prostatecancerfoundation.org

Disclaimer
The information contained on this Web site is intended for general consumer understanding and education. The information is provided as a resource only and is not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Access to the information on this site is voluntary. We advise users to consult their physician or other qualified health-care professional if they have questions regarding personal health and medical conditions. Hebrew SeniorLife expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained on this site.

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