Internal Medicine Center is working to bring awareness to prostate cancer as part of National Prostate Awareness month. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men after skin cancer. When diagnosed at an early stage, it can usually be treated successfully. In fact, almost 100 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer today will be alive in five years.
In many cases, prostate cancer stays confined to the prostate, and is so slow-growing that it might never pose a threat. However, some cases of prostate cancer can be aggressive and quickly spread to other organs or bones. Your treatment decisions will depend largely on what kind of prostate cancer you have. You can determine what kind of prostate cancer you have by knowing the stage and grade.
What should you do if you or a loved one has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer? First, take a moment to breathe. Then your priority is to find out as much as you can about your diagnosis and work with your doctor to make a plan. Visit this newly diagnosed section to receive some tools to help you do this.
Your Risk for Prostate Cancer
The greatest risk factors for developing prostate cancer are increasing age, family history, ethnicity, and diet. Do any of these describe you?
I am older than 50
I have a family history of prostate cancer
I am African American
If you answered yes to any of these, then you may be at higher risk of prostate cancer. However, not having any of these risk factors does not mean you are immune. Unfortunately, all men are at risk for prostate cancer. Keep reading to learn more about your risk and what steps you can take.
Should I Get Tested?
Deciding to get tested is a personal decision made after a consultation with a doctor. Some important factors to consider are your age, race, family history, and history of exposure (for example, to Agent Orange or other defoliants or pesticides, visit our Am I at Risk?page to learn more). All men are at risk of prostate cancer, so it is important to talk with your doctor to make an informed decision.
Detecting prostate cancer early gives you the best chance of living longer. In fact, more than 99 percent of men survive prostate cancer when it is caught early.
How Do I Get Tested?
A general practitioner or a urologiest can perform a full prostate cancer exam. This would usually include a PSA blood test and digital rectal exam, also called a DRE.
A Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions.
A Digital Rectal Exam is a test that is done when a doctor or nurse inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to estimate the size of the prostate and feel for lumps or other abnormalities.
One in seven American men will have prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men and is the most commonly diagnosed. The American Cancer Society estimates that 180,890 men will be told they have prostate cancer in 2016*. Currently, there are nearly 2.9 million American men living with the disease – roughly equal to the population of Chicago.