Prostate cancer is not a womans disease. However, chances are that one of your loved ones (partner, father, brother) may be affected by prostate cancer at some point in his life. While 50 percent of prostate cancer cases occur in men over the age of 65, it can affect younger men as well. The following are some things to know about prostate cancer for women.
Prostate cancer does not always show symptoms
While advanced prostate cancer can cause some troublesome symptoms like urinary urgency, burning, increased uninary frequency, erection problems, blood in urine, and local and remote pain, most of the time, this disease gives few signs or symptoms before significant progression. This is the reason why most doctors recommend adopting a preventive life style with regular checkups to detect early changes of prostate cancer.
Talk to your doctor about screening
All men over the age of 40 should talk to their doctor about screening. Your loved one should undergo regular checkups and screening, especially if prostate cancer has occurred in other family members. A screening test includes detection of PSA (prostate specific antigen) in the patient’s blood whose levels can indicate prostate cancer. High PSA levels are not always suggestive of cancer, as they can occur due to various prostate pathologies like inflammation, infection, trauma and senile processes (aging). Only 25% of men with high PSA levels actually have cancer, which means that this test is not very specific. However, if your partner is above the age of 40, has a positive family history of prostate cancer or is an African-American, he should get his PSA level tested, and if the PSA is elevated, he should consider to geting an MRI of the prostate. An MRI is much more accurate, non-invasive and will give your man a look inside his prostate.
A superior way to detect prostate cancer
As previously mentioned, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the prostate is a non-invasive method of cancer detection in the prostate. With a high specificity and sensitivitiy, it can detect clinically significant disease much better than a punch biopsy. Read more about the benefits of MRI of the prostate here.
Treatment is not necessary for every man with prostate cancer
A recent study by scientists at Harvard University found that approximately 60-70% of prostate cancers fall into the category of low-risk cancers, meaning that they are small in size and their growth is so slow that they will rarely transform into higher risk cancer. Such cases do not need aggressive treatment that cause severe side effects, and may only require “active surveillance” (regular checkups and close monitoring) by a healthcare team.
- In active surveillance, a doctor will monitor PSA levels regularly and if the tests show a sudden peak of more than 5.5-6 (depending on his age), this could be an indication that medical therapy is required.
If your partner still wants to have his low-risk prostate cancer removed, a minimally invasive and fast, yet effective treatment is focal therapy of the prostate with NanoKnife (Irreversible Electroporation). Make an appointment with one of our specialists to speak about your cancer treatment options.
Standard procedures are not always the best option
Clinically established therapies such as the surgical removal of the prostate (prostatectomy) or radiation therapy oftentimes cause significant side effects, such as incontinence and impotence. Meanwhile, there are novel therapies that are not be as established at this point, but may be much more suitable. It is therefore necessary for your partner to know all treatment options to be able to decide which one is best for him.
But thankfully, as prostate cancer is a relatively slow growing cancer in most cases, there is one crucial thing to remember: You have time. We encourage you and your man to take your time when researching treatment options.
The best place to start is to talk to an expert. If you are concerned about prostate cancer and want to know more about your options, contact us.