September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn about treating prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer will affect 1 in 8 men, according to the American Cancer Society. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the U.S. More than 168,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year, and more than 34,000 people will die of the disease.
The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland in males that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Many prostate cancers grow slowly and are confined to the prostate gland, where they may not cause serious harm. However, while some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.
Factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include:
If you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your treatment options will depend on several factors, such as how fast your cancer is growing, whether it has spread and your overall health, as well as the potential benefits or side effects of the treatment.
Low-grade prostate cancer may not need treatment right away. For some, treatment may never be needed. Instead, active surveillance may be an option for cancer that isn't causing symptoms, is expected to grow slowly and is confined to a small area of the prostate. Active surveillance also may be considered for someone who has another serious health condition or for whom advanced age makes cancer treatment more difficult.
In active surveillance, regular follow-up blood tests, rectal exams and prostate biopsies may be performed to monitor the progression of your cancer. If tests show your cancer is progressing, you may opt for treatment.
If treatment is recommended, options can include: