Prostate Cancer – It's Not The End

When it comes to prostate cancer, probably the most important factor in getting the output you desire is " Early Detection ".

Over the past couple of years I've had the chance to hear about or talk with those who have not done it early, and heard about some of the challenges (incontinence, impotence, and nausea) they've had to deal with, compared to those who were diagnosed early, and were able to take a more rational approach to treatment. I suppose that one of the advantages of being in the military is that you are routinely poked, prodded and otherwise subjected to a rather non-private physical. The result tend to be that going to the doctor becomes something that you just do.

A brief history on PSA progress. This will differ by individual, but as an adult, PSA should be below 2.0, or at least at this level it is generally not considered a risk, however, with routine annual exams, abnormalities in the prostate can be detected so that you can be placed on a monitoring program. Typically if there is an abnormality detected, the diagnosing physician will refer you to a specialist (Urologist) for continued monitoring.

In meeting with the Urologist, he will typically rerun your PSA to confirm the numbers and do a prostate exam to verify the irregularity. If the PSA should climb higher, the next step will be a biopsy to verify if you have cancer or not. With the PSA below any cancer that exists should be very localized, and if treated should not pose a risk of the spreading to other areas of the body.

The following are the various stages of Prostate Cancer:

Stage I

In stage I, prostate cancer is found in the prostate only. Stage I prostate cancer is microscopic; it can not be felt on a digital rectal exam (DRE), and it is not seen on imaging of the prostate.

Stage II

In stage II, the tumor has grown inside the prostate but has not extended beyond it.

Stage III

Stage III prostate cancer has spread outside the prostate, but only just. Prostate cancer in stage III may involve nearby tissues, like the seminal vesicles.

Stage IV

In stage IV, the cancer has spread (metastasized) outside the prostate to other tissues. Stage IV prostate cancer commonly spreads to lymph nodes, the bones, liver, or lungs.

The later stage in which the cancer is detected the more aggressive will need to be the treatment, which may include complete removal of the prostate, as well as more intensive radiation, and extremely if at stage IV the treatment becomes problematic.

So, do not ever forgo the annual exams, they may be a pain in the "butt", however, they are literally life savers .