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Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

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PROSTATE CANCER
Risk factors * Older age. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age. Prostate cancer is most common in men older than 65. * Being black. Black men have a greater risk of prostate cancer than do men of other races. In black men, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced. It's not clear why this is. * Family history of prostate cancer. If men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be increased. * Obesity. Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced disease that's more difficult to treat.
Prevention
* Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. Avoid high-fat foods and instead focus on choosing a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and nutrients that can contribute to your health. One nutrient that is consistently linked to prostate cancer prevention is lycopene, which can be found in raw or cooked tomatoes. Whether you can prevent prostate cancer through diet has yet to be conclusively proved. But eating a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables can improve your overall health. * Choose healthy foods over supplements. No studies have shown that supplements play a role in reducing your risk of prostate cancer risk. While there has been some interest in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and selenium, to lower prostate cancer risk, studies haven't found a benefit to taking supplements to create high levels of these nutrients in your body. Instead, choose foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals so that you can maintain healthy levels of vitamins in your body. * Exercise most days of the week. Exercise improves your overall health, helps you maintain your weight and improves your mood. There is some evidence that the men who get the most exercise have a lower incidence of prostate cancer when compared with men who get little or no exercise. Try to exercise most days of the week. If you're new to exercise, start slow and work your way up to more exercise time each day. * Maintain a healthy weight. If your current weight is healthy, work to maintain it by exercising most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, add more exercise and reduce the number of calories you eat each day. Ask your doctor for help creating a plan for healthy weight loss. * Talk to your doctor about increased risk of prostate cancer. Men with a high risk of prostate cancer may consider medications or other treatments to reduce their risk. Some studies suggest that taking 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, including finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart), may reduce the overall risk of developing prostate cancer in men age 55 and older. These drugs are used to control prostate gland enlargement and hair loss in men. However, some evidence indicates that men taking these medications may have an increased risk of getting a more serious form of prostate cancer (high-grade prostate cancer). If you're concerned about your risk of developing prostate cancer, talk with your doctor.
Prostate screening tests might include: * Digital rectal exam (DRE). During a DRE, your doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to examine your prostate, which is adjacent to the rectum. If your doctor finds any abnormalities in the texture, shape or size of your gland, you may need more tests. * Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. A blood sample is drawn from a vein in your arm and analyzed for PSA, a substance that's naturally produced by your prostate gland. It's normal for a small amount of PSA to be in your bloodstream. However, if a higher than normal level is found, it may be an indication of prostate infection, inflammation, enlargement or cancer.
PSA testing combined with DRE helps identify prostate cancers at their earliest stages, but studies haven't proved that these tests save lives. For that reason, there is much debate surrounding prostate cancer screening.
Diagnosing prostate cancer
If an abnormality is detected on a DRE or PSA test, your doctor may recommend tests to determine whether you have prostate cancer, such as: * Ultrasound. If other tests raise concerns, your doctor may use transrectal ultrasound to further evaluate your prostate. A small probe, about the size and shape of a cigar, is inserted into your rectum. The probe uses sound waves to make a picture of your prostate gland. * Collecting a sample of prostate tissue. If initial test results suggest prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend a procedure to collect a sample of suspicious cells from your prostate (prostate biopsy). Prostate biopsy is often done using a thin needle that's inserted into the prostate to collect tissue. The tissue sample is analyzed in a laboratory to determine whether cancer cells are present.
Determining whether prostate cancer is aggressive
When a biopsy confirms the presence of cancer, the next step, called grading, is to determine how aggressive the cancer is. The tissue samples are studied, and the cancer cells are compared with healthy prostate cells. The more the cancer cells differ from the healthy cells, the more aggressive the cancer and the more likely it is to spread quickly. More-aggressive cancer cells have a higher grade.
The most common scale used to evaluate the grade of prostate cancer cells is called a Gleason score. Scoring combines two numbers and can range from 2 (nonaggressive cancer) to 10 (very aggressive cancer).
Determining how far the cancer has spread
Once a cancer diagnosis has been made, your doctor works to determine the extent (stage) of the cancer. Many men won't require these additional tests. But if your doctor suspects your cancer may have spread beyond your prostate, imaging tests such as these may be recommended: * Bone scan * Ultrasound * Computerized tomography (CT) scan * Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Once testing is complete, your doctor assigns your cancer a stage. This helps determine your treatment options. The prostate cancer stages are: * Stage I. This stage signifies very early cancer that's confined to a small area of the prostate. When viewed under a microscope, the cancer cells aren't considered aggressive. * Stage II. Cancer at this stage may still be small, but may be considered aggressive when cancer cells are viewed under the microscope. Or cancer that is stage II may be larger and may have grown to involve both sides of the prostate gland. * Stage III. The cancer has spread beyond the prostate to the seminal vesicles or other nearby tissues. * Stage IV. The cancer has grown to invade nearby organs, such as the bladder, or spread to lymph nodes, bones, lungs or other organs.
Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy to kill cancer cells. Prostate cancer radiation therapy can be delivered in two ways: * Radiation that comes from outside of your body (external beam radiation). During external beam radiation therapy, you lie on a table while a machine moves around your body, directing high-powered energy beams to your prostate cancer. You typically undergo external beam radiation treatments five days a week for several weeks. Most external beam radiation uses X-rays to deliver the radiation, but doctors are studying whether using protons may reduce the risk of side effects. * Radiation placed inside your body (brachytherapy).Brachytherapy involves placing many rice-sized radioactive seeds in your prostate tissue. The radioactive seeds deliver a low dose of radiation over a long period of time. Your doctor implants the radioactive seeds in your prostate using a needle guided by ultrasound images. The implanted seeds eventually stop giving off radiation and don't need to be removed.
Side effects of radiation therapy can include painful urination, frequent urination and urgent urination, as well as rectal symptoms, such as loose stools or pain when passing stools. Erectile dysfunction can also occur. There is a small risk of radiation causing another form of cancer, such as bladder cancer or rectal cancer, in the future.
Hormone therapy
Hormone therapy is treatment to stop your body from producing the male hormone testosterone. Prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to help them grow. Cutting off the supply of hormones may cause cancer cells to die or to grow more slowly. Hormone therapy options include: * Medications that stop your body from producing testosterone.Medications known as luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) agonists prevent the testicles from receiving messages to make testosterone. Drugs typically used in this type of hormone therapy include leuprolide (Lupron, Eligard), goserelin (Zoladex), triptorelin (Trelstar) and histrelin (Vantas). * Medications that block testosterone from reaching cancer cells.Medications known as anti-androgens prevent testosterone from reaching your cancer cells. Examples include bicalutamide (Casodex), flutamide and nilutamide (Nilandron). These drugs typically are given along with an LH-RH agonist or given before taking an LH-RH agonist. * Surgery to remove the testicles (orchiectomy). Removing your testicles reduces testosterone levels in your body. The effectiveness of orchiectomy in lowering testosterone levels is similar to that of hormone therapy medications, but orchiectomy may lower testosterone levels more quickly.
Hormone therapy is used in men with advanced prostate cancer to shrink the cancer and slow the growth of tumors. In men with early-stage prostate cancer, hormone therapy may be used to shrink tumors before radiation therapy. This can make it more likely that radiation therapy will be successful. Hormone therapy is sometimes used after surgery or radiation therapy to slow the growth of any cancer cells left behind.
Side effects of hormone therapy may include erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, loss of bone mass, reduced sex drive and weight gain. Hormone therapy also increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Surgery to remove the prostate
Surgery for prostate cancer involves removing the prostate gland (radical prostatectomy), some surrounding tissue and a few lymph nodes. Ways the radical prostatectomy procedure can be performed include: * Making an incision in your abdomen. During retropubic surgery, the prostate gland is taken out through an incision in your lower abdomen. Compared with other types of prostate surgery, retropubic prostate surgery may carry a lower risk of nerve damage, which can lead to problems with bladder control and erections. * Making an incision between your anus and scrotum. Perineal surgery involves making an incision between your anus and scrotum in order to access your prostate. The perineal approach to surgery may allow for quicker recovery times, but this technique makes removing the nearby lymph nodes and avoiding nerve damage more difficult. * Laparoscopic prostatectomy. During a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, several small incisions are made in the abdomen. The doctor inserts special surgical tools through the incisions, including a long, slender tube with a small camera on the end (laparoscope). The laparoscope sends images to a monitor in the operating room. The surgeon watches the monitor while guiding the instruments. Laparoscopic surgery may offer a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery than traditional surgery. * Using a robot to assist with surgery. During robotic laparoscopic surgery, the instruments are attached to a mechanical device (robot). The surgeon sits at a console and uses hand controls to guide the robot to move the instruments. Using a robot during laparoscopic surgery may allow the surgeon to make more precise movements with surgical tools than is possible with traditional laparoscopic surgery.
Discuss with your doctor which type of surgery is best for your specific situation.
Radical prostatectomy carries a risk of urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Ask your doctor to explain the risks you may face based on your situation, the type of procedure you select, your age, your body type and your overall health.
Freezing prostate tissue
Cryosurgery or cryoablation involves freezing tissue to kill cancer cells. During cryosurgery for prostate cancer, small needles are inserted in the prostate using ultrasound images as guidance. A very cold gas is placed in the needles, which causes the surrounding tissue to freeze. A second gas is then placed in the needles to reheat the tissue. The cycles of freezing and thawing kill the cancer cells and some surrounding healthy tissue. Initial attempts to use cryosurgery for prostate cancer resulted in high complication rates and unacceptable side effects. However, newer technologies have lowered complication rates, improved cancer control and made the procedure easier to tolerate. Cryosurgery may be an option for men who haven't been helped by radiation therapy.
Heating prostate tissue using ultrasound
High-intensity focused ultrasound treatment uses powerful sound waves to heat prostate tissue, causing cancer cells to die. High-intensity focused ultrasound is done by inserting a small probe in your rectum. The probe focuses ultrasound energy at precise points in your prostate. High-intensity focused ultrasound treatments are being studied in clinical trials. More study is needed to understand the benefits and risks of this treatment.
Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill rapidly growing cells, including cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be administered through a vein in your arm, in pill form or both. Chemotherapy may be a treatment option for men with prostate cancer that has spread to distant areas of their bodies. Chemotherapy may also be an option for cancers that don't respond to hormone therapy.…...

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