Chances of survival dramatically increase with early detection screenings and cutting edge treatment options.
The prostate gland is a focus of medical concern for all men after age 40. One in six men will develop prostate cancer, making prostate cancer the second most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. Both benign and malignant conditions can affect the prostate gland. Benign enlargement of the prostate (BPH) can cause urinary difficulties, and will affect almost all men as they get older.
While many statistics surround prostate cancer, it is still true that most men who have prostate cancer do not die from it. The American Cancer Society estimated 192,000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in 2009 and more than 27,000 men died from the disease. The good news is that most cases are diagnosed while the cancer is still within the prostate. Cancer found at this early stage usually has a high cure rate. According to the most recent data, for all men with prostate cancer, the relative five-year survival is nearly 100%, the relative ten-year survival is 91%, and the relative 15 year survival exceeds 76%.
As with many cancers, the most important aspect of prostate cancer is early detection. If the cancer is caught early, before it can spread, then cure rates are excellent. Because early prostate cancer does not give any reliable signs or symptoms, annual screening is critical to detect the developing cancer. Screenings need to be done every year after age 40. African Americans and patients with a family history of prostate cancer have a higher risk for developing prostate cancer. At the Conrad Pearson Clinic, our experienced urologists perform annual exams and PSA blood tests as a routine part of our practice. Lots of different factors are used when deciding which course of treatment is best for each prostate cancer case.
When we decide how to treat newly diagnosed prostate cancer, the first fork in the decision tree usually revolves around trying to either cure the cancer or controlling the cancer. With most cancers, the patient’s main focus is on cure, but in many cases control may also be a good choice. In general, prostate cancer is a very slow-growing cancer. It takes years, rather than days, for it to get to the problematic stages.
For many people, especially young individuals or those who have a life expectancy of greater than ten years, curative therapy is recommended. For the elderly or those who have lots of medical issues, non-curative management options that control the cancer, but not cure it, may be reasonable options so that these people can live out their normal life expectancy while hopefully avoiding complications of the cancer as well as potentially risky cancer treatments. Curative treatment options include radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy, and Cryotherapy. Non–curative management options include watchful waiting and hormone deprivation therapy.