Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among American men. Worldwide, over 700,000 men are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year. The chance of getting prostate cancer increases with age, with 80% of men over 80 contracting the disease. The good news is, in the early stages, prostate cancer treatments can have a 90% or higher rate of success. Therefore, men in their 50’s are encouraged to get regular prostate check-ups.
In the early stages, there are no symptoms of prostate cancer. A physical examination is necessary, consisting of a digital rectal exam. Other tests may include imaging and blood tests. To confirm prostate cancer, a biopsy must be performed. If prostate cancer exists, your doctor will want to discover what stage the cancer is in and whether it has spread. Various tests can be done including a trans-rectal ultrasound, a needle biopsy or other methods. Knowing what stage the cancer is in will help determine the best course of treatment.
Your urologist will want to determine the size and location of your primary prostate tumour. Next they will check if the cancer cells have spread beyond the prostate gland to other areas, the lymph nodes or other organs. They will look to see if the cancer cells have metastasized to any other part of the body.
The doctor will rate the prostate cancer using a common staging system called TMN. The T stands for Tumor and describes the extent of the primary tumour. The N stands for lymph nodes and the M stands for metastasized. The clinical stage of cancer is classified in stages –ranging from T0 –(no evidence of primary tumour) up to T4 – Tumour invading surrounding areas. Earlier stages of prostate cancer (T-1, T-2 and, in some instances T-3) can be treated with High Intensity Focused Ultrasound – a preferred method of treatment with fewer side effects. HIFU is done on an outpatient basis with no surgery or radiation. High Intensity Focused Ultrasound waves travel through the rectum into a small area of the prostate gland. The urological surgeon is able to focus the treatment on the prostate gland and the heat destroys the cancer cells. Nearby organs are not damaged since the ultrasound waves are focused only on the prostate tumours. Therefore, recovery is much quicker and there is less chance of incontinency and impotence.
For more information on prostate cancer symptoms and treatment, visit the HIFU.ca website, as it contains a wealth of information on prostate cancer and cures.