Prostate Cancer

Family history and lifestyle factors play a part in when it comes to developing this disease.

Prostate cancer remains the most common form of cancer diagnosed in men aside from skin cancer, and an estimated 650 Virginia men were projected to die from the disease in 2017, according to the American Cancer Society.

But fortunately, while the disease can be deadly, for many it will not be, particularly when a growth is found to be slow-acting.

“There are many prostate cancers that are very low-grade and may be diagnosed in a patient that will never have a problem in their lifetime—that is, they will die with prostate cancer, not of prostate cancer,” says Aloysius Pereira, a medical oncologist with the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group. “Other patients might have a much more aggressive form of prostate cancer, and those patients would certainly benefit from treatment at an early stage.”

Family history and lifestyle factors can impact the odds of getting prostate cancer. At the same time, African-American men are 1.6 times more likely to get the cancer during their lifetime and their odds of dying from it more than doubles, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Screening remains one of the more common ways of finding out about the disease, which does not necessarily present symptoms in its early stages. If there are symptoms, they’re likely to include difficulty urinating and more frequent urination.

For lower-grade or early cases, treatment may take the form of what Pereira calls “active surveillance,” which can include regular exams and repeat biopsies. Other forms of treatment for more advanced cancers might include surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.

(Top Doctors 2018February 2018)