A General Introduction to Prostate Cancer

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Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that men can acquire. It can be described as being a malignant growth or tumor that is made up of cells that affect the prostate gland. In most cases, the tumor will grow at a slow rate and will not spread any further than the gland for a number of years. During this span of time, the growth may not show any outward symptoms. Even upon a physical examination, it may not be obvious that a problem exists.

Not every form of prostate cancer is exactly the same however. Some are more aggressive than others. Some forms grow and spread rapidly, while others may take much longer to materialize into anything serious. The aggressive types can shorten the life expectancy of the males that are affected by them. The measure of the aggressiveness of this disease is known as the Gleason score. This score is calculated by a trained pathologist when he examines biopsy specimens under a microscope in a laboratory.

As the disease advances, it can spread beyond the gland into the surrounding tissues. This is known as a local spread. The disease can also spread even further into other areas of the body. This is referred to as metastasizing. It can go into the bones, liver and lungs. Many of the signs that are associated with prostate cancer do not make themselves known until the disease is in its advanced stages.

This disease is the most common malignancy found in men living in the United States. It is the second leading cause of deaths due to cancer (lung cancer is the first). Every year thousands of new cases of this disease are diagnosed. The estimated risk of being diagnosed with this condition is in the range of 17.6 to 20.6 percent. The risk of death from it is in the range of 2.8 to 4.7 percent. Prostate cancer impacts the lives of a significant percentage of the male population across the country.

The good news is that over the course of the past number of years, the death rate from this malignancy has shown a steady decline. At the present time, there are more than two million males in America who are living healthy lives after being diagnosed with the disease.

Medical experts in the field of cancer prevention recommend that starting at the age of 40, all men undergo a screening for this disease. Early detection is the key to receiving the treatment you need as soon as possible.

The cause of this disease is presently unknown. It is not believed to be connected to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The predisposing factors for it include heredity, advancing age and hormonal influences. Environmental factors such as chemicals, toxins and industrial products are also risk factors. Prostate cancer is extremely rare in men younger than 40 years of age. On the other hand, it is common in men older than 65. In men over the age of 80, it has been hypothesized that 50 to 80 percent of them may have the condition.