Prostate cancer is a very common problem with men over the age of 80 and it starts becoming frequent with men over 50. By the time they are 80, almost half will have some form of prostate cancer which is not noticeable. Even though it is dangerous, just like any other cancer type, prostate cancer is very seldom the cause of death for the men who have it. Although this is such a common illness, doctors are still uncertain of the precise causes for prostate cancer. Ethnicity is one of the factors that offers some differentiation, with black men the highest risk and Asian men the lowest.
Curing prostate cancer is possible, but the condition has to be detected in the early stages. Many men do not even seek medical advice when the symptoms are present, partly because they are very similar to those of another disease: BPH or benign prostatic hypertrophy. Most men will experience difficulties while urinating, noticing a weak or intermittent flow of urine. Other symptoms include urgent needs to urinate or the need to wake up several times a night to do this. Some patients also observe a dribbling of urine after and even before urinating.
There is no universal treatment that will work the same in individual cases. Doctors have to determine several decisive factors, such as general health condition, age, location of the tumor in the prostate, size of the tumor. The number one option for treatment is surgery. However, the main operation, known as radial prostatectomy, is extremely tiring to the body, so the patient has to be in good condition. Most surgery patients are men between 50 and 70 years of age who do not seem to have extensive cancer damage. There are some side effects involved with this procedure, mostly related to erectile dysfunctions and minor urination problems. However, modern techniques greatly reduce the side effects and the success of surgery is high.
Choosing a hormone therapy is another option. This treatment does not kill the cancer cells but it reduces the size of the prostate tumor of the majority of patients. Most doctors recommend this treatment together with surgery for best effects. Cancer growth is stimulated by testosterone, the male sexual hormone, and hormone therapies reduce its level. By reducing testosterone levels, the prostate becomes less subjected to cancer cell growth. Based on patient medical history and overall health level, doctors may or may not choose to prescribe hormone therapy.
Sometimes, the doctor might suggest an alternative treatment to surgery. Radiotherapy can work by destroying cancer cells through radiation. The method is painless and involves only out-body procedures. However, some side effects like diarrhea and impotence have been noticed. Brachytherapy is the other. It involves the implantation of radioactive elements in the prostate, which are inserted with the patient under anesthesia. In time, the radioactive elements loose their properties, but they also help diminish cancer cell growth.