Screening for Prostate Cancer Can Be a Life-Saver
Taking care of their health is something men often overlook. However, the key to maintaining a healthy and long life is being proactive and taking action. This is especially true for preventing and treating prostate cancer, the second-most-common type of cancer affecting men in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Despite its notoriety, the prostate is a bit of a mystery. Located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, it is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). The prostate produces fluid for semen, and prostate cancer often progresses slowly with few outward signs. Those most at risk for developing prostate cancer include:
- Men who are 65 or older
- African American men
- Men with a family history of prostate cancer
Signs and Symptoms
It’s best to detect prostate cancer through screening when there are no symptoms or when they are at an early stage. Advanced prostate cancer symptoms include:
- Problems urinating
- Blood in urine or semen
- Trouble getting an erection
Treatment approaches vary and depend on age, preexisting conditions and cancer stage and growth rate. Younger patients with early-stage prostate cancer have options like surgery, external radiation and inserting radioactive implants directly into the tissue (brachytherapy). Because it often progresses slowly, older patients with preexisting health conditions might consider “watchful waiting” to avoid treatments that may cause side effects.
Lakewood Ranch Medical Center is the first hospital in the state of Florida to offer a new, FDA-approved technology for prostate cancer treatment, High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), a minimally invasive procedure that aims to eradicate prostate cancer with reduced side effects.