Prostate Cancer Detection And Treatment – What You May Not Be Aware Of

October 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

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It is critical that a prostate cancer patient be diagnosed early before the disease gets the chance to metastasize to other regions of the body. Early detection of the disease allows for effective treatments to be administered that may cure the man of the disease; late detection will certainly still warrant treatment, but hope for cure is dismal at best. 

Detection: screening and diagnosis

Early stage prostate cancer has no symptoms, so that it is virtually impossible for a patient to detect it by himself without medical assistance; as a matter of fact even medical experts may miss the diagnosis at times, except that they have a better chance of not doing that. What with the improved and more widespread screening methods that are available now for the detection of prostate cancer, they can hardly miss it.

The American Cancer Society urges that men at age fifty or older should get regular medical checkups as often as once a year in order for the cancer to be tested for (early on) and diagnosed if there. The first screening test is usually the DRE – direct rectal examination – during which a gloved finger in the rectum feels the prostate for anomalies. The presence thereof might be a benign prostate hyperplasia, but it could also be prostate cancer, thereby warranting the next screening test. The test for the prostate specific antigen (PSA) level in a patient’s blood work also may prove that something (from cancer to prostatitis) is wrong with the prostate, or not.

Diagnosing prostate cancer often has to be concluded by a biopsy of the prostate gland, during which a tissue sample of the organ is observed under the microscope for anomalies and deviations from what is normal. If the man has prostate cancer, the biopsy will confirm it. 

Treatment: different types for different stages

Treating prostate cancer has to be with respect to the extent of the disease as at the time of diagnosis, amongst other things. Early stage disease may be attacked with a radical or laparoscopic prostatectomy or with some form of radiation therapy with the intention to cure.

Hormonal therapy may also be used, but only as a ­pre-therapy before the others are brought in because it does not cure prostate cancer. Advanced prostate cancer is often treated by chemotherapy to slow disease progression, while also looking for ways to manage the pain due to disease metastasis.

An oncologist or urologist will happily outline how the treatments work and what the implications and complications are for each procedure if the patient is interested.

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