What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men (not counting skin cancer) in the U.S. It tends to occur mainly in older men. In most cases prostate cancer is found before it has spread to other parts of the body. Cancer that hasn’t spread is easier to treat and cure.
Prostate cancer tends to grow slowly. It can often be found and treated while it is still just in the prostate. In fact, some cases of prostate cancer may not need to be treated right away. But other cases of prostate cancer can grow quickly. The first place cancer grows in the body is called the primary site or primary tumor.
If prostate cancer is not treated and continues to grow, it can grow into other parts of the prostate. Over time it may grow outside of the prostate and into nearby tissues, such as the seminal vesicles. At Halifax Health Center for Urology we feel it is important to educate our community on the importance of early detection and in turn provide a free prostate screening in honor of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
Prostate Cancer | Early Detection Saves Lives
Two screening tests can look for prostate cancer:
- PSA blood test. This test looks at the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. A higher level means it is more likely that a man has prostate cancer.
- Digital rectal exam (DRE). In this exam, the health care provider inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate for abnormal areas. This test is not always done as part of prostate cancer screening.
Abnormal results on these screening tests can mean that a man may have prostate cancer, but these tests can’t diagnose prostate cancer. A prostate biopsy is needed to be sure. A biopsy is when small pieces of tissue are taking to be examined in a lab.
Healthcare professionals advise that men talk with their health care providers to make an informed decision about participating in screenings. If you are thinking about being screened, talk with your health care provider about:
- Your personal risk of prostate cancer based on your age, race, and family history
- What the screening test results can and can’t tell you
- What the next steps would be if the test results show you might have prostate cancer
- What your options would be for treating or not treating right away
- What the treatment options are if you were to have treatment.
Prostate Cancer | Tips for Family Members
Below are some tips to help you support the man in your life that has been diagnosed with prostate cancer:
- Talk openly. Your loved one may be sad, angry, or not want to face the diagnosis of prostate cancer. It’s also normal for you to feel the same way. Talk with each other about how you feel during this stressful time.
- Learn all you can. Make sure you understand the diagnosis and treatment options. This will help you to support your loved one during this time.
- Keep good medical records. Keep a notebook of all appointments, tests, and visits with health care providers. Keep copies of test results for your records.
- Ask questions. Go to appointments with your loved one.Ask anything you aren’t sure about. Take notes and add them to the medical records.
- Attend a support group. Meeting others who have gone or are going through a similar experience can help you and your loved one feel better.
- Search for new information. Prostate cancer treatment options are always changing as new research is done. Do research, and talk with the health care team about newer options.