Get Answers | Prostate Cancer - Bard Care

Learn about Prostate Cancer

Cancer of the prostate is caused by cells in the prostate dividing without control.  It may cause no symptoms in its early stages. But as it advances, it can cause urinary problems.  Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in men, but if caught early, the 5-year survival rate is very good.3,6,7,11

What are the Causes?1,2,7

Doctors are unsure of the exact causes of prostate cancer.  They do know that if someone in the family has had the disease, it is more likely to be diagnosed.  Ethnicity can play a role.  And the older you get, the higher your risk.  Lifestyle choices such as diet, smoking and exercise may also have an impact.

Research continues to better understand what causes the disease.  But most doctors agree, if you do things that are heart healthy, you may also keep your prostate healthy.  Eating right, exercising, watching your weight and not smoking can improve your health and help you avoid this disease.1,7,8

How may prostate cancer impact me?1,7,11

In its early stages, prostate cancer often causes no symptoms.  When symptoms do occur, they may include any of the following:

  • Dull pain in your pelvis or lower back
  • Frequent urination
  • Problems with urination such as being unable to urinate, pain, burning, or weakened urine flow
  • Blood in your urine or semen
  • Painful ejaculation
  • General pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
  • Loss of appetite and/or weight
  • Persistent bone pain

How does my doctor screen for prostate cancer?

In the UK prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men with over 42,000 men being diagnosed with prostate cancer every year and more than 10,500 dying from the disease.13

For some types of cancer, finding and treating the disease early may provide a better chance of survival and recovery.  But there are risks to screening, so it’s important to talk about risks and benefits with your physician.7,8,11

What are my treatment options?

The first step is to diagnose.  The key screening tools are a digital rectal exam (DRE) where your doctor will look to see if you have an enlarged prostate and a blood test called a PSA (Prostate specific Antigen).  He may order additional tests.  If these are positive, you may need a biopsy where they take some tissue from your prostate.1,3,7,11

Once diagnosed, doctors use a range of treatments to help with prostate cancer.  If you are suffering from this disease, discuss these options with your doctor and ask if there are other potential alternatives

Some prostate cancers are very slow growing, so, like with BPH, your doctor may prescribe active surveillance (watchful waiting) as the best option.7,11

Your doctor may recommend taking hormones to lower your levels of testosterone (male hormone).  By doing this, you may be able to slow the growth of cancer cells over time.  These hormones may also be used in combination with Brachytherapy (radiation therapy) to shrink the prostate and the tumor.1,11

Brachytherapy is another prostate cancer treatment. It involves implanting radioactive “seeds” around your prostate gland.  These seeds stay permanently and deliver a dose of radiation directly to the cancer cells slowly over time.1,7  Side effects may include urinary problems, bowel problems, erectile dysfunction or impotence (difficulty in getting or keeping an erection of the penis), and fatigue (or tiredness).1,7,11

External radiation is another treatment for prostate cancer.  It uses high-energy X-rays directed from outside the body at the prostate gland.  Side effects may include problems with urination and impotence, as well as injury to the bowel.1,7

With some prostate cancers, surgery may be required to remove the prostate and lymph nodes affected with the disease.  The two most common side effects of this surgery are loss of bladder control (incontinence) and the inability to maintain an erection (impotence).1,7,11

Where can I find more information?

The following organisations can provide you with further information: 


Please note that this information provided by BARD Medical is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a medical professional. Information is as of 12/2014. Please check references for updated information.


References:

  1. Kirby R.S. Prostate Disease and their Treatments, Health Press Oxford 2010
  2. Diseases and Conditions; Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, Updated 12/2001 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia/basics/symptoms/con-20030812
  3. Urology Care Foundation (American Urology Association, BPH: Minimally invasive Management BPH, Updated 4/2013 http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=144
  4. Lepo H, Management and Preventing Acute Urinary Retention, Rev Urol. 2005; 7 (Suppl 8) S26-S33
  5. National Kidney and Urological Diseases, Updated 8/2014 http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/UrinaryRetention/What is Cancer,
  6. National Cancer Institute, 3/2014 http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/cancerlibrary/what-is-cancer
  7. Urology Care Foundation (American Urology Association, Prostate Cancer, Updated 4/2014 http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=146&display=1
  8. Information about Prostate Cancer and Screening, Bard Medical, http://www.bardmedical.com/media/127667/prostatecancerpatientscreenings_1009_33.pdf
  9. Prostate Cancer Treatment – Questions and Answers, Bard Medical http://www.bardmedical.com/media/127676/prostatecancertreatment_patientbrochure1pformat__1010-23.pdf
  10. Pathophysiology of Disease: Introduction to Clinical Medicine, Seventh Edition, McGraw-Hill Education, 2014, pgs 26-40
  11. S Chao MD , R Chippendale MD, Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Geriatrics, Second Edition, Chapter 40, McGraw-Hill Education, 2014
  12. Campbell-Walsh Urology, 9th Edition, Saunders-Elsevier Philadelphia PA, 2007, pgs 57-61
  13. www.prostatecanceruk.org