About Prostate Cancer
is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the prostate. The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra (the tube which empties urine from the bladder). The prostate gland produces fluid which makes up part of the semen.
According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer affecting men in the United States. An estimated 223,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007. More than seventy percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year are over the age of 65. African American men have a higher risk of the disease than Caucasian men.
There are no noticeable symptoms of prostate cancer while it is still in the early stages. To find prostate cancer in its most treatable form, it must be caught before symptoms appear. In more advanced stages, symptoms may include difficult or frequent urination, blood in the urine or bone pain.
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- Risk of prostate cancer increases with age. Prostate cancer is rare for men under the age of 40, and most cases occur in men over the age of 65.
- Men with a father or brother with prostate cancer are 2x as likely to get the disease. Men with 3 relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer are nearly certain to develop prostate cancer.
- African American men have a 60% higher risk of getting prostate cancer than Caucasian men, and twice the risk of dying from it. Asian men have a risk of getting prostate cancer similar to the general population, but rates of death due to the disease have not declined over recent years as they have for Caucasian and African American men.
- Veterans of Asian Theaters, who were exposed to Agent Orange, are at increased risk.
- Obese men – those with a body mass index of over 32.5 - are 33% more likely to die from prostate cancer if diagnosed.
Prostate cancer screening consists of two examinations:
- A blood test that measures levels of Prostate Specific Antigen or PSA. Annual screening should start at age 50 for the general population, but the right age to start PSA testing depends on the individual's level of risk.*
- A physical exam of the prostate, the Digital Rectal Exam or DRE. A quick and painless physical exam, where the doctor feels for bumps or abnormalities on the surface of the prostate which might indicate tumor growth. The word “digital” refers to the use of a finger, not a computer. If a bump or abnormality is found, a biopsy is needed to determine whether prostate cancer exists.*
*Both exams should be done concurrently to increase the accuracy of prostate cancer diagnosis.
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Prostate cancer screening considerations:
- Annual screening should start at age 50 for the general population.
- Men with one risk factor should start annual screening at age 45.
- Men with more than one risk factor should start annual screening at age 40.
- Some men choose to take a single test earlier, at age 35 or 40, to get a PSA level when prostate cancer is not present and establish a “baseline” level for future comparison.
Where to get screened for prostate cancer:
- A primary care physician can do both the PSA test and physical examination.
- Those who cannot afford a doctor visit, call a local hospital or clinic to see if they offer any free screening programs.
Prostate cancer prevention:
There are no known ways to prevent prostate cancer. Adopting a healthy lifestyle consisting of regular exercise and limiting consumption of saturated fat found in red meat and dairy products can lower risk. Studies show a strong correlation between saturated fat consumption and increased rates of prostate cancer diagnosis and mortality. Diets rich in cancer fighting nutrients such as Vitamin E, Selenium, soy, green tea, and tomatoes appear to mitigate the risks of prostate cancer. Studies are underway to confirm these findings, and more cancer-fighting nutrients are continuously being discovered and studied.
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1. Open Prostatectomy
This is major abdominal surgery and not the preferred treatment for prostate cancer as it commonly results in substantial blood loss, a lengthy and uncomfortable recovery and the risk of impotence and incontinence. The alternatives, e.g., laparoscopic prostatectomy
or da Vinci robotic prostatectomy,
offer a better experience.
2. Laparoscopic Prostatectomy
One of the most common treatments for prostate cancer involves the surgical removal of the prostate gland, known as Laparoscopic Prostatectomy
, or Radical Prostatectomy. Traditional radical prostatectomy requires a large 8-10 inch incision.
3. da Vinci Robotic Prostatectomy: A Less Invasive Surgical Procedure:
If surgery is the recommended treatment for prostate cancer, a da Vinci Prostatectomy
, a less-invasive surgical procedure called robotic prostatectomy
may be the right option. Robotic prostatectomy incorporates a state-of-the-art surgical system which enables a precise surgical procedure with reduced risks, minimal side-effects, and quick recovery time for patients.
da Vinci Robotic Prostatectomy Benefits:
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less pain
- Less risk of infection
- Less blood loss and fewer transfusions
- Less scarring
- Faster recovery
- Quicker return to normal activities
Learn More About da Vinci Robotic Surgery:
Robotic Surgery FAQs
da Vinci Robotic Prostatectomy
da Vinci Robotic Surgery System
SMART Surgery Technique
Prostate Cancer Treatment Trifecta
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