Prostate cancer can be a serious and potentially life-threatening disease, but early detection and treatment can lead to better outcomes. Start a search today to learn more about this common cancer, so you can recognize the warning signs.
What Are the First Signs of Prostate Cancer?
Unfortunately, sometimes prostate cancer doesn’t present any symptoms in the early stages, or the symptoms are subtle. This can make it hard to detect, which is why regular screening is so important. That said, there are symptoms to be on the lookout for. Some of the first signs of prostate cancer include difficulty urinating, frequent urination, or a weak urine stream. Men may also experience pain or discomfort during urination, ejaculation, or bowel movements.
In some cases, the first clues of prostate cancer may be detected through a routine blood test, which measures the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the bloodstream. Elevated PSA levels can be an early indicator of prostate cancer, but it’s important to note that high PSA levels can also be caused by other factors, such as an enlarged prostate or an infection. Your healthcare provider will likely recommend further testing to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
What Are the Signs of Advanced Prostate Cancer?
Advanced prostate cancer, also called metastatic cancer, refers to cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland and into other areas of the body. As the cancer progresses, the symptoms may become more pronounced and may include bone pain, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and difficulty breathing.
In some cases, men with advanced prostate cancer may also experience erectile dysfunction or loss of libido. It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other factors, so it’s essential to work with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away. Your healthcare provider may recommend additional testing to determine if the cancer has spread and what treatment options may be appropriate for your individual needs.
Early Detection: How to Screen for Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is typically detected through a combination of screening tools, including a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a blood test to measure prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. During a DRE, a healthcare provider will insert a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for any abnormalities in the prostate gland. PSA levels can also be measured through a blood test, which can help detect early signs of prostate cancer.
It’s important to note that while these screening tools can help detect prostate cancer, they are not foolproof and can sometimes lead to false positives or false negatives. If there are concerns about the results of a DRE or PSA test your doctor will likely recommend additional testing, such as a prostate biopsy.
Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
Prostate cancer treatment options vary depending on the stage and severity of the cancer, as well as the individual needs and preferences of the patient. Some common treatment options for prostate cancer include active surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy.
Active surveillance involves monitoring the cancer to see if it progresses or becomes more aggressive, without actively treating it. Surgery involves removing the prostate gland, while radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to destroy cancer cells. Hormone therapy involves blocking or lowering the production of testosterone, which may help slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Chemotherapy is typically reserved for more advanced cases of prostate cancer and involves using powerful drugs to destroy cancer cells throughout the body. If you receive a prostate cancer diagnosis, it’s important to work with your medical team to determine the best treatment for you.
New Breakthrough Treatments Offer Hope for Advanced Cancer Patients
Prostate cancer can be a challenging disease to treat, particularly for patients with advanced cases that have spread beyond the prostate gland. However, recent advances in treatment have provided new hope for those living with advanced prostate cancer. One such breakthrough is the development of targeted therapies that can slow or even halt the growth of cancer cells.
Xtandi, Nubeqa, and Apalutamide are among the new breakthrough treatments for advanced prostate cancer. These medications work by blocking the production or activity of hormones like testosterone that can fuel the growth of prostate cancer cells. Patients with advanced prostate cancer should talk to their doctors about whether these treatments might be right for them, and explore all available options for managing the disease.
How to Cope With a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
A diagnosis of prostate cancer can be overwhelming and can cause a range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, and uncertainty about the future. Coping with a prostate cancer diagnosis requires a multi-faceted approach that includes emotional, physical, and social support.
One important way to cope with a prostate cancer diagnosis is to seek out support from family, friends, or a support group. Talking to others who have been through a similar experience can help you feel less alone. It’s also important to take care of your physical and emotional health by eating well, exercising, getting enough rest, and seeking out professional counseling or therapy as needed.
Finally, it’s essential to stay informed about current prostate cancer treatment options and work closely with your medical team to develop a personalized treatment plan. By taking an active role in your care and staying informed, you can feel more in control and empowered as you navigate the challenges of prostate cancer.