Who is more likely to be affected by prostate cancer?
Known risk factors include:
Age – Prostate cancer is rare in men under 50. Older men are at an increased risk and it’s thought that most men will develop prostate cancer if they live into the old age;
Race – African-American men are more prone to prostate cancer;
Family history – Having a close relative with prostate cancer increases your chances of developing the disease.
However, many men develop prostate cancer even without the presence of these risk factors.
What are the symptoms?
Most men won’t experience any symptoms, especially in the early stages. When symptoms occur, they may include:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
- Painful or burning urination
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Difficulty having an erection
However, these symptoms may also be caused by other conditions, such as BPH.
Early detection of prostate cancer is critical for preventing cancer from spreading and can only happen with regular health exams. Current urological guidelines recommend that all men over the age of 40 should obtain a baseline prostate cancer screening test and men over 50 should get an annual exam to monitor prostate health.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
The prostate is a small gland that sits below the bladder and above the rectum. Digital rectal exam and PSA blood test are used to detect prostate cancer.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a simple blood test that measures the amount of the antigen secreted by prostate cells. When there are any abnormalities in the prostate, including but not limited to cancer, the PSA level will be elevated. In this case, repeat testing is usually indicated. If PSA remains elevated, prostate biopsy is then performed to determine the cause.
What can cause elevated PSA?
- Prostate cancer
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
Is there a way to determine what’s causing elevated PSA without a prostate biopsy?
At University Urology Associates, we use an additional method of prostate cancer detection called the Prostate Cancer Antigen 3 (PCA3) test. It’s not widely available at this stage and we’re one of only a few locations in Canada where you can obtain this test.
Unlike PSA, PCA3 is only elevated in the likelihood of prostate cancer being present. It’s a reliable tool in helping to decide whether a man needs to have prostate biopsy. Learn more about the PCA3 test.
What are the treatment options?
With a high survival rate, maintaining the quality of life after recovery is a major concern in treating prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer can be treated through surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. Often, a combination of these treatments is used. Frequently, these treatments leave a man with urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Fortunately, there’s a minimally-invasive alternative – High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). HIFU doesn’t negatively affect continence or sexual function and offers comparable and even slightly higher success rates.
Not every man diagnosed with prostate cancer is a candidate for HIFU treatment. Factors affecting eligibility include:
- Stage of diagnosis
- Other treatments you may have had
- Your overall health condition