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Prostate Cancer-Diagnosis and Treatment

Prostate Cancer-Do You Have It?

Prostate Cancer is a disease in which cancer develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Cancer occurs when cells of the prostate mutate and begin to multiply out of control. These cells may spread (metastasize) from the prostate to other parts of the body, especially the bones and lymph nodes. Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, erectile dysfunction and other symptoms.

Prostate Cancer develops most frequently in men over fifty. This cancer can only occur in men; the prostate is exclusively of the male reproductive tract. It is the second most common type of cancer in men in the United States, where it is responsible for more male deaths than any other cancer except lung cancer. However, many men who develop prostate cancer never have symptoms, undergo no therapy, and eventually die of other causes. Many factors, including genetics and diet, have been implicated in the development of prostate cancer, but as of 2006, it is not a preventable disease...

Prostate Cancer is most often discovered by physical examination or by screening blood tests, such as the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test. There is some current concern about the accuracy of the PSA test and its usefulness. Suspected prostate cancer is typically confirmed by removing a piece of the prostate (biopsy) and examining it under a microscope. Further tests, such as X-rays and bone scans, may be performed to determine whether prostate cancer has spread.

Prostate cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, occasionally chemotherapy, or some combination of these. The age and underlying health of the man as well as the extent of spread, appearance under the microscope, and response of the cancer to initial treatment are important in determining the outcome of the disease.

Since Prostate Cancer is a disease of older men, many will die of other causes before the prostate cancer can spread or cause symptoms. This makes treatment selection difficult. The decision whether or not to treat localized prostate cancer (a tumor that is contained within the prostate) with curative intent is a patient trade-off between the expected beneficial and harmful effects in terms of patient survival and quality of life.

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