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Prostate Cancer Symptoms What You Can Do About It

Aug 17, 2007
The prostate gland is located directly beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. It's estimated that approximately 234,460 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and approximately 27,350 will die of the disease. About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, but only one man in 34 will die of the disease.

The most common cancer in American men, excluding skin cancer, is prostate cancer. Early prostate cancer is confined to the prostate gland itself; most of the patients with this type of cancer can live for years without any problems. Like other cancers, the cause of prostate cancer is not known; it appears to be more common in African American men and men with a family history of the disease.

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease are bone pain or tenderness, and abdominal pain. Having one or more cancer symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer. If cancer is caught at its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms.

One symptom is a need to urinate frequently, especially at night. One prostate cancer symptom is difficulty starting urination or holding back urine. If you have one or more prostate cancer symptoms, you should see a qualified doctor as soon as possible.

When a digital rectal exam is performed it often reveals an enlarged prostate with a hard, irregular surface. A chest x-ray may be done to see if there's a spread of cancer. A number of tests may be done to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

A PSA test with a high level can also be from a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. The decision about whether to pursue a PSA test should be based on a discussion between you and your doctor. A urinalysis may indicate if there is blood in the urine.

Medications can have many side effects, including hot flashes and loss of sexual desire. Surgery is usually only recommended after thorough evaluation and discussion of all available treatment options. Besides hormonal drugs, hormone manipulation may also be done by surgically removing the testes.

Urinary incontinence can be a possible complication of surgery. An oncology specialist will usually recommend treating with a single drug or a combination of drugs. Surgery, called a radical prostatectomy, removes the entire prostate gland and some of the surrounding tissues.

In patients whose health makes the risk of surgery unacceptably high, radiation therapy is often the chosen conventional alternative. Some drugs with numerous side effects are being used to treat advanced prostate cancer, blocking the production of testosterone, called chemical castration; it has the same result as surgical removal of the testes. Radiation therapy is used primarily to treat prostate cancers classified as stages A, B, or C.

Thoroughly discuss your treatment options and concerns with your doctor and other health professionals; it never hurts to get a second or even third opinion or more if necessary. Impotence is a potential complication after the prostatectomy or after radiation therapy. Recent improvements in surgical procedures have made complications occur less often.

Since prostate tumors require testosterone to grow, reducing the testosterone level is used to prevent further growth and spread of the cancer. Treatment options can vary based on the stage of the tumor.

Just about all men with prostate cancer survive at least five years after their diagnosis, 93% survive at least 10 years, and 67% survive more than 15 years. Make sure to read everything you can get your hands on and mull it all over. The one thing that you should not do however is rely on any information obtained from the Internet to make your final decision.
About the Author
For more information on prostate cancer treatments and prostate cancer symptoms go to http://www.BestProstateHealthTips.com Helen Hecker R.N.'s website specializing in prostate and prostate cancer tips, advice and resources, including information on prostate tests and natural prostate cancer treatments
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