The number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is staggering. Over 200,000 men of all ages from every walk of life receive the heartbreaking news that they have contracted one of the harshest diseases. The good news is that if detected early on, prostate cancer can be treated and possibly destroyed. The bad news is that 5-10% of those annually diagnosed will be in the advanced stage of the disease. Even worse still is the fact that some of the men, who received what seemed to be successful treatment, will develop a reccurence of the disease. For these very reasons, it is imperative for all men to frequent their urologist for screenings.
For men who are diagnosed at an advanced stage, there are many advances in treatment that can lessen the symptoms and discomfort associated with the disease. Advanced prostate cancer is so complex that effective treatments depend on the condition of the person, meaning treatments are not universal. The best course of action is to have a conversation with your doctor so the appropriate care option can be recommended.
Each case is completely individualized so open and honest conversations with your urologist are crucial. Some prostate cancer is confined solely to the prostate gland. Others, though, can and do spread to areas outside the prostate, including the bones and the lymph nodes. Hormones and androgens play a great role in prostate cancer as male hormones have been tested and shown to stimulate the growth of prostate cancer. Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, also known as DHT, are the two other major players. DHT is 5 times as potent as testosterone when it comes to growth stimulation. Consider discussing these topics with your doctor; arming yourself with all the knowledge you can is part of the battle. There are drugs that can block the conversion of Testosterone to DHT.
Prostate cancer touches so many lives in so many ways, including my own. My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer twelve years ago in his early 60’s. The diagnosis was so sudden and as in most cases, came without warning. Each member of my family coped with it differently but we all offered our unwavering support. The worst part was seeing the disappointment on his face every day because the treatment he was on at the time prevented him from being around and holding my daughter. She was his first and only grandchild at the time. With the guidance of his doctor, he opted to have radiation seeds implanted within his prostate and it wound up being the best treatment for him. He is currently cancer free and has been for years, but continues to see his urologist for regular prostate specific antigen (PSA) treatments to this day. Had my father not taken the first step and gotten a prostate cancer screening, this story may have had a very different ending. Thankfully, he was one of the lucky ones.
The most important thing any man can do is to see their doctor and get a prostate screening test. It may end up being the most important test you will ever take and it can save your life. When talking to your urologist, leave no question unasked. Learn your options and take control of your health and possibly, your life.
Mercedes Potter is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow her @CedesPotter to see what else she’s been blogging about.