What is Prostate Cancer?
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is a serious public health concern with more than 160,000 new cases in the United States in 2017. It is the third leading cause of death from cancer for men with more than 25,000 deaths in 2017. Prostate cancer is similar to other cancers starting once cells in the body grow out of control in the prostate gland. There are many treatment options for prostate cancer, but the key is early diagnosis and detection. Prostate cancer is more common among older men aged 65 and older and develops in about 1 in 7 men during their lifetime. Research is ongoing to identify specific risk factors that increase a man’s risk of developing the disease. Although adenocarcinomas are the most common type of prostate cancer, there are others such as sarcomas, small cell carcinomas, transitional cell carcinomas, and neuroendocrine tumors.
Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines
Early detection of prostate cancer is key in obtaining treatment. The American Cancer Society recommends informing patients about the risks, benefits of screening, and uncertainties of prostate cancer. This conversation is beneficial during the following:
• Age 40 for men who are at very high risk of developing the cancer.
• Age 45 for men at high risk of developing the cancer. High risk is characterized an African American men and men who have a first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer at a young age (younger than age 65).
• Age 50 for men who are at average risk of developing the cancer and have a life expectancy of at least 10 or more years.
Men who are interested in being screened should be tested with the prostate-specific antigen blood test. The digital rectal exam can also be done as well.
If a patient is unsure, the health care provider should take into account the patient’s risk and proceed with the best route.
If the screening comes back negative, the patient should receive screening in the future following these guidelines:
• Men with a prostate-specific antigen blood test of less than 2.5 ng/mL should be retested every 2 years.
• Men who have levels at or above 2.5ng/mL should be tested yearly.
Risk Factors for Craniofacial Defects
Research is ongoing to identify additional risk factors for developing prostate cancer. To date, the following have been identified as risk factors:
o Prostate cancer is higher among men over the age of 50. It is very rare in men younger than 50.
o African American and Caribbean men with African ancestry have the highest risk of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is seen less often among Asian American and Hispanic/Latino men.
o Prostate cancer is more common in the Caribbean islands, North American, Australia, and Northwestern Europe.
• Family history
o Some prostate cancer has been seen among men in the same family; however, most diagnoses occur among men without a family history. The risk of developing the cancer is higher among men who have a father or brother with the disease which more than doubles their risk.
• Gene changes
o Some inherited gene mutations have been found to increase the risks of developing cancer; however, they only account for a small percentage of cases. These genes include the following: inherited mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 and other inherited mutations, and men with Lynch syndrome.
Some uncertain factors include the following:
• Chemical exposures
• Inflammation of the prostate
• Sexually transmitted infections
Healthcare Provider Resources
• American Cancer Society Prevention and Early Detection Guidelines
• American Cancer Society Survivorship Care Guidelines
• Cancer Screening Guidelines Overview and Processes
• American Cancer Society Resources for Professionals
• Patient Education Materials for Professionals