More than 218,000 American men will be diagnosed with
prostate cancer in 2009. Getting the facts before being diagnosed makes it
possible to face prostate cancer head on. Here is what men should know
before going in for a prostate examination.
What causes prostate cancer?
Despite all of the advances of modern science, it is
unknown what exactly causes prostate cancer. However, a number of risk
factors are known. Increased age, family history of prostate cancer, and
lack of exercise all seem to be tied to a diagnosis of this common cancer.
Can prostate cancer be prevented?
Some risk factors, such as age and a family history of prostate cancer, can’t be changed. Those that can be modified included should. By getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet complete with fruits and vegetables today, men may reduce their likelihood of a diagnosis of prostate cancer later in life. Studies are currently ongoing to determine if Vitamin E or selenium aid in preventing prostate cancer.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
A couple of simple, annual tests are used to aid in the
detection of prostate cancer.
1. During a digital rectal examination (DRE), a
physician manually feels for abnormalities in the prostate through the
rectum. Any growths alert the physician that cancer may be present.
2. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test
is a simple blood test that requires a small sample of blood to be taken
from the prostate. The blood is then sent to a laboratory and tested for
elevated levels of PSA, a chemical that can be an indicator of prostate
The American Cancer Society recommends men undergo both
tests beginning at age 50. Men with a family history of prostate
cancer-particularly men with family members who were diagnosed with
prostate cancer at an early age-are often recommended to undergo DRE and
PSA testing prior to turning 50.
What if the test comes back positive?
Like many medical tests, DRE and PSA are not foolproof.
Though both tests are beneficial in detecting potential cancers, there is
the potential for a “false positive” result. This occurs when a DRE or PSA indicates cancer when no cancer is actually present.
For a definitive diagnosis of prostate cancer, a biopsy is needed. A small amount of tissue is removed from the prostate for laboratory tests. The results of this test are the only way to determine whether cancer is actually present.
What treatment options are available for prostate cancer?
Today, an array of treatment is available. Here are a few of them.
Watchful waiting is exactly what it sounds like-keeping track of prostate cancer’s growth and not beginning treatment unless it metastasizes (spreads) or begins causing symptoms, such as difficulty or pain during urination or lower
back pain. Since prostate cancer is typically a very slow-moving cancer
that causes no symptoms whatsoever, this is an ideal option for men who
want to avoid the cost and inconvenience often associated with other
is the surgical removal of the prostate. Depending on the extent of cancer
and the choice of the patient, the entire prostate can be removed (radical
prostatectomy) or just the region affected by the cancer (partialprostatectomy).
External radiation therapy involves using a machine to shoot radioactive beams at the cancerous area. This requires multiple visits to a radiation therapy
center and is considered inconvenient by many men.
Internal radiation therapy, also known as brachytherapy, is a less
invasive radiation therapy option. Small, radioactive pellets are inserted
in the prostate and destroy the cancerous cells as the individual goes
about his day.
Pilates Instructor, Yoga Instructor, Personnel trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. Don teaches Contemporary and the Authentic forms of Pilates, in the later 90's, Don began his study of Yoga. His study of Yoga includes the Hatha, Iyengar, Bikram, and Astanga disciplines. His other areas of interest in fitness include Martial Arts, Spin, Boot Camp Training, and Weight Training. Don has extensive training and certifications from AFFA, IDEA, MadDog, B-Fit and Polestar. Don Continues his of Pilates education with Michelle Larson in Santa Fe New Mexico. His personal philosophy related to fitness is to aid students in a personalized balance of strength, stamina and flexibility. He is dedicated to design a program specifically for his students independent of the season of their life to create functional movement and help them reach their fitness goals.