Early Detection Paramount in Effective Treatment of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer will strike more than 161,000 American males and it is expected to claim nearly 27,000 lives in 2017.
Behind those grim statistics is some positive news. While prostate cancer is a serious disease, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, nearly three million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.
The key in treating the disease is early detection and Franciscan Health physicians urge men at risk to discuss screenings with their primary care physician.
"Prostate cancer detection often can be found by testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in the blood or by digital rectal exam," said Peter Garrett, MD, medical director for Franciscan Health Cancer Center in Indianapolis. "If cancer is identified through either of these approaches, further testing may be required before an effective treatment plan is devised."
Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50, according to the American Cancer Society. About 60 percent of prostate cancers are found in men older than 65.
The ACS reports that risk factors include:
- Race: Studies show that African American men are approximately 70 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime than Caucasian or Hispanic men.
- Family History: Genetics plays a strong role. Men with an immediate blood relative, such as a father or brother, who has or had prostate cancer, are twice as likely to develop the disease.
- Lifestyle: Diet high in unsaturated fats and obesity. Also, those using testosterone therapy are more likely to develop prostate cancer.
"Depending on a patient's case and the stage of their disease, treatment options may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, vaccine treatment or hormone therapy," said Dr. Garrett. "If the cancer stage is low, it may only require watchful waiting and active surveillance through PSA testing."
When it comes to prostate cancer care, Franciscan Health provides an individualized, hands-on approach to delivering high-quality prostate cancer treatment. Its multidisciplinary program provides patients with access to a team of leading experts in urology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology and several others to help fight prostate cancer.
The program also provides patients with advanced imaging, including MRI, cancer nurse navigators and access to the latest treatment options and therapies including Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), hormone therapy and chemotherapy, as well as research and clinical trials. Franciscan Health surgeons also perform minimally invasive surgery using the da Vinci® Surgical System.