What Every Man Should Know about Prostate Cancer
Did you know prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer diagnosed in men? It’s also the leading cause of cancer death among the male population.
“After the age of 40, men should start receiving a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test as part of their annual bloodwork,” said Dr. Sanjay Mehta, DABR, a board-certified oncologist with St. Joseph Medical Center. “Like other cancers, if you have a family history, those screenings should begin earlier.”
A PSA test is the primary way doctors diagnose prostate cancer. Sometimes, a urologist can make the determination during a rectal exam, but it may not be as accurate as a PSA test.
Men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a couple of treatment options, including radiation and surgery.
“When it is caught early, radiation has an extremely high rate of success – nearly 95% -- in curing prostate cancer,” said Mehta.
Radiation technology has evolved over the years and is better able to target only the prostate and not the bladder and rectum. These advancements greatly minimize the side effects of the treatment.
Men undergoing radiation go in for 50 minutes a day, five days a week, for roughly two months. Once the radiation protocol is complete, another PSA test is done to determine if they are in remission.
The other option is to have the prostate removed surgically. However, patients who go this route may experience post-operative pain, bladder leakage, and decreased quality of life.
Because prostate cancer is genetic, it cannot be prevented. But leading a healthy lifestyle, including a sensible diet and exercise, can help.
“Just like other cancers, early detection of prostate cancer is the key,” said Mehta.