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Think You Have A Prostate Problem Or Prostate Cancer?

Aug 17, 2007
Many men, especially those later in life have made the decision with their doctors to simply watch and wait. About 80 percent of men who reach the age of 80 have prostate cancer. It's deadly but can be cured if it's caught early enough.

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. The prostate gland is located directly beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. The male hormone testosterone contributes to the growth of cancer.

Because the symptoms can mimic other diseases or disorders, men who experience any of these symptoms should undergo a thorough work-up to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms. Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease are bone pain or tenderness, and abdominal pain. There may be other symptoms not mentioned here.

Most prostate cancer symptoms, although associated with prostate cancer, are more likely to be connected to non-cancerous conditions. If cancer is caught at its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms. One symptom is difficulty starting urination or holding back urine.

There are several potential downsides to PSA testing; for example a high PSA does not always mean a patient has prostate cancer. CT scans may be done to see if the cancer has spread. What is called a free PSA may help tell the difference between BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy), an enlargement of the prostate gland, and prostate cancer.

A urinalysis may indicate if there is blood in the urine. A prostate biopsy usually confirms the diagnosis. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the PSA enzyme in your blood for abnormalities.

Recent improvements in surgical procedures have made complications occur less often. Medicines can be used to adjust the levels of testosterone; called hormonal manipulation. Surgery is usually only recommended after thorough evaluation and discussion of all available treatment options.

Prostate cancer that has spread (metastasized) may be treated conventionally with drugs to reduce testosterone levels, surgery to remove the testes, chemotherapy or nothing at all. 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. Side effects of chemotherapy drugs depend on which ones you're taking and how often and how long they're taken.

An oncology specialist will usually recommend treating with a single drug or a combination of drugs. Chemotherapy medications are often used to treat prostate cancers that are resistant to hormonal treatments. Anyone considering surgery should be aware of the benefits, risks and the extent of the procedure.

Other medications used for hormonal therapy, with side effects, include androgen-blocking agents, which prevent testosterone from attaching to prostate cells. What you can do now is begin to understand what exactly your treatment options are and where you're going to begin. Hormone manipulation is mainly used as a treatment to relieve symptoms in men whose cancer has spread.

In patients whose health makes the risk of surgery unacceptably high, radiation therapy is often the chosen conventional alternative. Whether radiation is as good as prostate removal is debatable and the decision about which to choose, if any, can be difficult.

Once diagnosed you may be want to join a support group whose members share their experiences and problems. As new research comes out adjust your treatment options accordingly. Consider articles such as this one, just a starting point where you can begin to learn about prostate cancer.
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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