Written by: Dr. Michael Vander Kooy, Radiation Oncologist
September is recognized as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Cancer statistics tell us that about one in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about one in 36 men will die from the disease.
Recently there have been changes in the recommendations for routine prostate cancer screening. Prostate cancer rarely occurs before the age of 50, so starting at age 50 men should talk with their healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening. The most common screening tool for prostate cancer is the prostate-specific antigen test better known as a PSA blood test.
According to the American Cancer Society statistics, there are about 2.5 million prostate cancer survivors in the United States. Many factors affect a man’s overall survival, including Gleason score, PSA value and tumor stage.
Over the past several years, there have been many technological advancements in the treatment of prostate cancer, including robotic surgery for prostate removal, as well as robotic table positioning and volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) for external beam radiation therapy. Both of these state-of-the-art technologies are available through Agnesian Cancer Care services. These advanced treatment options will be discussed in more detail in parts two and three of this blog series.
Exciting research is underway for prostate cancer. Scientists are studying genes associated with prostate cancer and learning more about genetics which may help to identify which men are at risk for developing prostate cancer. Research for prostate cancer prevention is also being done. Lycopene found in tomatoes and isoflavones found in soybeans, as well as other vitamins and minerals may help to prevent prostate cancer.