Disorders of the Prostate. Overview. According to the American Cancer Society, the prostate gland, which is about the size of a walnut, is the 2nd most common site of cancer in men, and it is estimated that more than 200,000 men will develop prostate cancer this year .
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The three most common prostate problems are:
The mainstay of treatment is antibiotics. Other treatments in conjunction with antibiotics are:
Recently a number of non-surgical options have been introduced, namely:
Once a malignant tumor causes the prostate gland to swell significantly, or spreads beyond the prostate, the following symptoms may be present:
These are not symptoms of the cancer itself. Instead, they are the symptoms of the blockage from the cancer growth within the prostate and surrounding tissues.
Prostate cancer is a complex disease. Doctors cannot always predict how fast or slow it will grow. Nor do they agree on when to treat it, or which treatments to use. Predicting and monitoring the disease with accuracy help doctors and patients make decisions that result in the best survival rates and quality of life.
PSA is a substance produced by the prostate gland. It is normal to secrete small amounts of PSA into the bloodstream. But larger amounts of PSA in the bloodstream usually signal that the prostate gland is enlarged, infected, or diseased. According to the National Cancer Institute, a PSA level of between 0 and 2.5 is low; 2.6 to 10 signals a slightly to moderately elevated level; 10 to 19.9 is moderately elevated; and 20 or more is significantly elevated
PSA velocity: Several studies indicate that when PSA levels increase sharply in the months before surgery, the cancer is likely to be aggressive.
The Gleason score "grades" tumors on the basis of how abnormal they look when the tissue is examined under a microscope. The more abnormal they look, the more likely they are to grow fast and to spread to other parts of the body. A grade of less than 4 generally means that cancer cells look similar to normal cells. Grades 5 to 7 fall under the intermediate range. Grades 8 to 10 indicate aggressive growth.
Localized Prostate Cancer: At this stage, the tumor is confined to the prostate. It cannot be felt, nor can it be seen via imaging techniques. This as stage I prostate cancer. Disease that is more advanced, but still remains within the prostate, is considered stage II prostate cancer.
Regional Prostate Cancer: The tumor has grown through the prostate capsule, either into the seminal vesicles (a pair of glands next to the prostate) or into nearby muscles and organs. This stage III prostate cancer.
Metastatic Prostate Cancer: The tumor has spread to the pelvic lymph nodes or more distant parts of the body. Metastatic cancer frequently spreads to the bones. This is stage IV prostate cancer.
Doctors also look at the general health of a patient, his age, and any (other illnesses) as well. It's also important that doctors learn patients' wishes and concerns. Learning what's important to patients should be part of the treatment decision process.
Treatment for prostate cancer may include everything from "watchful waiting" to removal of the entire prostate gland.
With brachytherapy, small radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate where they irradiate prostate tissue. Side effects and discomfort are minimal, and the entire procedure usually takes less than an hour. For most patients this is an outpatient procedure and they go home the same day, returning to normal activities a few days later.
Side effects may include things that affect lifestyle. For example, erectile dysfunction and incontinence.