Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among North American men, with more than 190,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Prostate cancer tends to develop in men over the age of fifty. The five-year survival rate for all stages of prostate cancer has increased to 99 percent, up from 67 percent, during the past 20 years. This may be due to early detection, advances in diagnosis and treatment as well as an increased public awareness.
Prostate cancer often doesn't produce any symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms that may indicate prostate cancer, and which should be followed up with a visit to the doctor, include:
Although these symptoms may indicate prostate cancer, they also can be caused by other conditions that are not cancer, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). As men age, the prostate often enlarges and can press on and block the urethra and bladder, producing some of the symptoms described above. BPH can be successfully treated with medication or surgery.
Many prostate cancer tumors don't require immediate treatment because they're small, confined and slow growing. "Active surveillance" focuses on closely monitoring patients and treating the cancer before spreading outside the prostate.
Treatment options for prostate cancer with intent to cure are primarily surgery, radiation therapy, and proton therapy. Other treatments, such as hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, cryosurgery, and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) are also available, depending on the clinical scenario and desired outcome.