Prostate Cancer

Sec­ond to skin can­cer, prostate can­cer is the most com­mon form of can­cer in men; approx­i­mate­ly 300,000 men in the Unit­ed States are diag­nosed with prostate can­cer every year. The exact cause of prostate can­cer is unknown. Accord­ing to the Amer­i­can Can­cer Soci­ety, an aver­age Amer­i­can man has a one in nine chance of being diag­nosed with prostate can­cer dur­ing his lifetime.

Locat­ed just below the blad­der and in front of the rec­tum, the prostate is a wal­nut sized gland that is part of the male repro­duc­tive sys­tem. The ure­thra, which is the tube that urine flows through, runs through the cen­ter of the prostate gland. The prostate gland pro­duces pro­sta­t­ic flu­id which, when mixed with sperm, pro­duces semen.

Prostate can­cer occurs when the prostate gland devel­ops malig­nant cells. Local­ized” prostate can­cer is when the can­cer remains inside the prostate. How­ev­er, it is pos­si­ble for the can­cer to grow to sur­round­ing tis­sue or spread (metas­ta­size) to the lymph nodes or bone. As with many forms of can­cer, ear­ly detec­tion pro­vides the great­est chance of cure. For this rea­son, it is impor­tant for all men over the age of 50 (age 40 if you are Black or have a fam­i­ly his­to­ry) to have reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled annu­al screen­ing exams which include a prostate spe­cif­ic anti­gen (PSA) blood test and dig­i­tal rec­tal exam (DRE).

Risk Fac­tors:

Although the exact cause of prostate can­cer is unknown, research has shown that men with cer­tain risk fac­tors are more like­ly than oth­ers to devel­op prostate can­cer. Hav­ing a risk fac­tor doesn’t mean that you will get prostate can­cer, but rather you are at greater risk of devel­op­ing the disease.

Age: The chance of acquir­ing prostate can­cer increas­es with age. Men over the age of 45 have a high­er risk than younger men.

Fam­i­ly His­tory: Prostate can­cer risk is approx­i­mate­ly 2 to 3 times greater for men whose fathers or broth­ers have had the dis­ease. Prostate can­cer risk also appears to be slight­ly high­er for men whose moth­ers or sis­ters have had breast cancer.

Race: Prostate can­cer is more com­mon in Black men than in Cau­casians or His­pan­ics. It is less com­mon in Asian and Amer­i­can Indi­an men.

Diet: Some stud­ies sug­gest that men who eat a diet high in ani­mal fat or red meat may be at increased risk for prostate can­cer. Men who eat a diet rich in fruits and veg­eta­bles may have a low­er risk.