Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men if skin cancer is excluded. American Cancer Society estimates in the year 2004 a total of 230,900 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United state. It is estimated that about 29,900 men will die of this disease in the year 2004. Important risk factors for the development of prostate cancer include increasing age, black race, family history of prostate. Increased dietary fat, and vasectomy may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Its incidence shows great variation depending up on the geographical location.
Early stages of prostate cancer may be completely without symptoms. Obstruction to urinary flow is the most common symptom of prostate cancer. It may also present with blood in the urine, urinary infections and frequent urination. Advanced disease may present as leg swelling, bone pain, fractures, or paralysis.
Screening for prostate cancer
Examination by a physician including rectal examination and the test for prostate specific antigen (PSA) are the most commonly used screening tools. Current screening recommendations by the American Cancer Society rectal examination yearly after age 50 and for men who are expected to live at least for the next 10 years. PSA is also a commonly used screening test for prostate cancer.
Treatment of prostate cancer
Decisions regarding treatment is based on the stage, grade and extend of the disease. Surgery for the removal of the prostate gland and radiation therapy are options for the earliest stages of prostate cancer. Patients who progress after surgery or radiation are often treated with hormonal therapy. Chemotherapy is not very effective in prostate cancer, but patients with advanced prostate cancer can sometimes be treated with chemotherapy.
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Mammogram: This is an X-ray technique for visualization of the soft tissues of the breast. The machine works similar to the X-ray machine used for doing chest X-rays. Breast tumors because of its higher density compared to normal tissues, are seen as abnormalities on a mammogram. Mammogram is able to detect tumors larger than approximately 1-2 mm if calcification is present. If a suspicious spot is identified on a mammogram, your doctor will recommend a biopsy. See section on medical imaging techniques
for details. See cancer terms
for more cancer related terms.