About Prostate Cancer
Frequently Asked Questions About Prostate Cancer
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive system. A normal, healthy prostate is about the size and shape of a walnut. It lies below the urinary bladder and surrounds the upper part of the urethra. The urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder and semen out through the penis, runs through the center of the prostate. The function of the prostate is to produce some of the seminal fluid that nourishes and carries sperm from the testicles and out of the penis during ejaculation. Because of its position an enlarged prostate can squeeze the urethra causing urinary problems.
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men, and is the second leading cause of cancer death in men after lung cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society estimates in 2013 25,500 to 23,600 and 4400 to 3900, men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 4,400 will die of it.
On average, 490 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer every week.
On average, 85 Canadian men will die of prostate cancer every week.
One in 7 men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime, mostly after age 60. One in 27 will die of it.
Where does prostate cancer spread?
Prostate cancer can spread through the prostate, into the prostate capsule, and the fat surrounding the prostate. It can also spread to the base of the bladder and to the seminal vesicles, which are located adjacent to the prostate. When tumours spread into another area it is referred to as “metastasis.” Prostate cancer can metastasize into the lymph nodes or into the bones.
What options do I have for treating prostate cancer?
There are a number of different options for how prostate cancer can be treated, each has its own risks and benefits. Primarily patients choose between watchful waiting, surgery, and different types of radiation therapy. New emerging prostate cancer treatments such as HIFU are becoming increasingly popular because they are non invasive and preserve patient quality of life.
Why are regular prostate check ups important?
Early stage prostate cancer may not exhibit symptoms; therefore, as men get older, especially over the age of 50, it is important to be tested every year in order to identify any abnormalities. The most efficient combination as a diagnostic check for prostate cancer is the DRE (Digital Rectal Examination) and the PSA (Prostatic Specific Antigen) blood test.