September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

 

The month of September has been designated as National Prostate Cancer Awareness

Month to bring attention to this very common form of cancer that affects so many men. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in men and is the second leading cancer related cause of death in men. Although it is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer some risk factors for developing it are:

  •  Older age (more than 65% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men older than 65)
  • Race (African-American men are 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men)
  • Family history (having a father or brother with prostate cancer)
  • Obesity

The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system that produces a fluid that mixes with sperm and other fluids during ejaculation. It sits just below the bladder and is normally about the side of a walnut.

Prostate cancer, especially in its early stages, may not have any symptoms. When symptoms are present they may include difficulty starting urination, less force to the stream of urine, dribbling at the end of urination, needing to urinate frequently, urinating frequently at night, pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, difficulty starting or maintaining an erection, pain with ejaculation, pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis and upper thighs, or unintended weight loss.

When screening is done there are two tests that are available. The available tests are a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.  To perform a digital rectal exam your doctor uses a gloved finger, inserted a few inches into your rectum, to check your prostate gland.  A prostate-specific antigen test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in your blood.  Many men who have prostate cancer have elevated levels of PSA, however PSA can also be elevated for less serious causes such as prostate enlargement or infection.

Further testing is needed to diagnose cancer. Additional tests that your doctor may recommend to diagnose cancer include an ultrasound of the prostate and a biopsy of the prostate.  A biopsy is when a small piece of the prostate is removed to look for abnormal cells.

Treatment of prostate cancer depends on many factors including your age, your overall health and the growth and spread of the cancer when it is diagnosed. Some men who have slow growing tumors may not need treatment right away and some may never need treatment.  Other types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can quickly spread to other parts of the body making treatment difficult.  Common treatment options include watchful waiting or expectant management (regular testing and checkups to assess for new signs or symptoms), radiation therapy (high-energy x-rays used to kill cancer cells), chemotherapy, surgery (having the prostate gland removed) and hormone therapy.

To schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital to discuss a prostate cancer screening, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Prostate Cancer

The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system that produces a fluid that mixes with sperm and other fluids during ejaculation.  It sits just below the bladder and is normally about the size of a walnut.

Prostate cancer is an abnormal growth of cells within the prostate gland.  Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American men.  The majority of men who reach the age of 80 are found to have prostate cancer, however, most of the types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may not contribute to any serious harm.  Some types of prostate cancers are more aggressive and can spread to other parts of the body.

Prostate cancer, especially in its early stages, may not have any symptoms.  When symptoms are present they may include difficulty starting urination, less force to the stream of urine, dribbling at the end of urination, needing to urinate frequently, urinating frequently at night, pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, difficulty starting or maintaining an erection, pain with ejaculation, pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis and upper thighs, or unintended weight loss.

Although it is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer some risk factors for developing prostate cancer are older age (more than 65% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men older than 65), race (African-American men are 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men), family history (having a father or brother with prostate cancer) and obesity.

There is an ongoing debate among physicians and medical groups about screening for prostate cancer.  Currently, many organizations including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommend against routine screening for prostate cancer.  Having a discussion with your doctor about prostate cancer screening can help you decide if you should consider undergoing prostate cancer screening based on your unique health history and preferences.

When screening is done there are two tests that are available.  The available tests are a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.  To perform a digital rectal exam your doctor uses a gloved finger, inserted a few inches into your rectum, to check your prostate gland.  A prostate-specific antigen test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in your blood.  Many men who have prostate cancer have elevated levels of PSA, however, PSA can also be elevated for less serious causes such as prostate enlargement or infection.  Further testing is needed to diagnose cancer.  Additional tests that your doctor may recommend to diagnose cancer include an ultrasound of the prostate and a biopsy of the prostate.  A biopsy is when a small piece of the prostate is removed to look for abnormal cells.

Treatment of prostate cancer depends on many factors including your age, your overall health and the growth and spread of cancer when it is diagnosed.  Some men who have slow-growing tumors may not need treatment right away and some may never need treatment.  Other types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can quickly spread to other parts of the body making treatment difficult.  Common treatment options include watchful waiting or expectant management (regular testing and checkups to assess for new signs or symptoms), radiation therapy (high-energy x-rays used to kill cancer cells), chemotherapy, surgery (having the prostate gland removed) and hormone therapy.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What are the Symptoms and Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers that affect men living in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017 alone there will be about 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer and 26,730 deaths caused by the disease.

It is important for men to know if they are risk for developing prostate cancer. Risk factors for the disease include:

Age – The chance of developing prostate cancer increases after the age of 50
Race/ethnicity- Prostate cancer occurs more in men of African American and African Caribbean ancestry
Family History- Men with a family history of the disease are more likely to develop prostate cancer
While prostate cancer usually does not present symptoms until its later stages, it is also important for men to know the symptoms. Symptoms include:

Difficulty urinating
Frequent urination
Pain or burning during urination
Painful ejaculation
Blood in urine or semen
Difficulty emptying the bladder completely
Pain in the hip, pelvis or back that does not go away
If you are at risk of developing prostate cancer or are experiencing symptoms, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor as soon as possible. He or she may suggest that you receive testing to find out if you have the disease or to assess the severity of your condition. If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are several treatment options available. Your doctor will discuss which treatment is best based on the advancement of the disease.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor a Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Treating Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common diseases that affect men’s health.  It is estimated that one in every seven men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis during his lifetime.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you most likely have questions about available treatment options.

Before recommending a course of treatment, your doctor will need to determine the stage or severity of the disease.  This can be concluded by using imaging technology to assess how aggressive the cancer might be.  Some of the testing methods utilized by physicians include:

  • multiparametric MRI
  • enhanced MRI
  • positron-emission tomography (PET)

Once the stage of the prostate cancer has been determined, your doctor will recommend the best treatment option. Treatment is unique to each individual and may include a combination of therapies and medication management.

Depending on the severity of your case, treatment may include:

  • Active Surveillance- This is where your doctor will monitor your cancer closely. Surveillance typically includes conducting blood tests and digital rectal exams every six months, observing changes in symptoms and possibly administering prostate biopsies each year.
  • Surgery- One of the most common options used to treat prostate cancer is surgery. Surgery is usually considered when cancer has not spread outside the prostate gland. A radical prostatectomy is the operation that your doctor may perform. It involves removing the entire prostate gland as well as surrounding tissue.
  • Radiation Therapy- Is often used to treat cancers that have grown outside the prostate gland and have spread to nearby tissues. High levels of radiation are used to kill cancer cells or to keep them from growing.
  • Hormone Therapy- Also known as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) or androgen suppression therapy,  is an option a physician may explore when cancer has spread too far to be treated with surgery or radiation therapy.  The goal of hormone therapy is to reduce the amount of male hormones (androgens) that are produced.   This helps delay the progression of prostate cancer.
  • Chemotherapy- If hormone therapy is not working; your doctor may consider chemotherapy as a form of treatment. During chemotherapy, a combination of cancer–fighting drugs is administered by mouth or intravenously.  This form of treatment is best used to shrink or eliminate cancer cells that have spread outside the prostate gland into other parts of the body.

Making treatment decisions can be challenging.  Your first step in making a decision is to learn about your options. As an informed patient, you will be able to help your doctor to make a care plan that is best for you.

To schedule an appointment with a urologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7110.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.