The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system located in front of the rectum with the urethra running through it. Prostate cancer occurs when malignant cells proliferate within the gland.
It is the most common cancer among men in the United States, and the third most common among men in Hong Kong, with the risk of prostate cancer rising for men after the age of 50. Most prostate cancers are slow growing but there are cases of rapidly progressing cancers.
Many early cases do not have specific symptoms. Should symptoms appear, they are often similar to those of another common urological disease, benign prostatic hyperplasia. These symptoms include:
Difficulty starting a stream of urine or a weakened urinary stream
A painful sensation during urination
Blood in the urine
It is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Diagnosis and Tests
Men over 50 may consider obtaining a Prostate Cancer Screening Test (also called Prostate-Specific Antigen Blood Test, or PSA) to look for signs of prostate irregularities. For those with high PSA levels, further diagnosis may include magnetic resonance scan (MRI), cystoscopy, prostate ultrasound and biopsy.
A number of factors should be considered when deciding the course of treatment such as your age, health condition, stage of the cancer, as treatment methods and objectives differ. Options may include surgery, radiation treatment , hormone therapy, or possibly no treatment with regular checkups.