According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 7 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Although the number is high, prostate cancer deaths are considerably less common. Only 1 I 38 men will die from prostate cancer. Additionally it is likely that this statistic can be lowered.
Proper screening and early detection is the most important thing when dealing with prostate cancer.
The prostate gland is a small, walnut-sized gland in the pelvis. It is located between the bladder and the penis and in front of the rectum. Urine flows through the prostate after leaving the bladder.
The prostate gland creates and secretes a component of seminal fluid which protects the sperm and allows it to stay alive longer once it reaches the vagina.
Most men need to be screened annually for prostate cancer. Doctors use a risk algorithm to tailor the frequency of screenings to individual patients. The algorithm includes age, race and family history.
There are three typical screening methods. A rectal exam although quick and painless tends to make men uncomfortable. During a rectal exam, doctors check for enlargement, lumps, hardness and changes in the prostate. Although changes are not always an indicator of cancer, they should be monitored.
Another screening method is a blood test. A prostate specific antigen blood test can be done to check for cancer. The change of cancer increases as PSA levels in the blood increase.
The third commonly used screening method is an ultrasound, MRI or biopsy. These methods are generally after a rectal exam or blood test suggest that cancer is present.
Prostate cancer is an individualized cancer and is very treatable. However some individuals can succumb to the disease if they are not screened properly.
Historically patients who do require treatment are treated with surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. However recent studies suggest that only 1 in 4 instance of prostate cancer will require any treatment at all.