Outside of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men, affecting one in nine in the United States. However, most men are able to overcome the disease thanks to the advanced treatments the team at Charleston Oncology provides to patients in the Charleston, West Ashley, and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, area. To learn more, call to book a consultation.
Prostate Cancer Q & A
What are the main forms of prostate cancer?
The prostate is a small gland found only in men and it produces some of the liquid that carries semen. When cancer strikes, the cells in your prostate become abnormal and multiply as such, causing your prostate to enlarge. If these cells continue to develop unabated, the cancer can metastasize to other areas of your body, though the disease is typically slow-growing and usually stays within the confines of the gland.
There are different types of prostate cancer, but adenocarcinomas make up the lion’s share of diagnoses. In rare cases, prostate cancer can present itself as:
- Small cell carcinomas
- Neuroendocrine tumors
- Transitional cell carcinomas
Again, these types of prostate cancer are most uncommon and the odds are that you’re dealing with the adenocarcinoma form of the disease.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
Prostate cancer may give you early signs in the form of a precancerous condition. While the jury is still out among researchers on whether prostate cancer develops first as a precancerous condition, there are a few tests to determine whether your cells may be acting abnormally.
The first and most common test is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which is a simple blood test to determine PSA levels in your blood.
The second test is called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), where the doctors at Charleston Oncology look for abnormal patterns of cells in your prostate and classify the results as either low-grade or high-grade. They conduct this test through a biopsy, and the results don’t necessarily determine your risk for prostate cancer, though there’s cancer present in 20% of cases with a high-grade PIN.
The third test is to determine proliferative inflammatory atrophy (PIA). If your cells look smaller than usual and there’s some inflammation in your prostate, this could be a sign that something larger is at work.
If, however, your doctor finds cancerous cells during the biopsy, it’s time to discuss treatment options.
How is prostate cancer treated?
If the doctors at Charleston Oncology confirm the presence of cancerous cells in your prostate, the next step is determining the aggressiveness of these cells, which will dictate your treatment.
If your doctor finds that your cancer isn’t aggressive, they usually just carefully monitor your situation. If through advanced diagnostic imaging and testing, they find that your cancer has spread, they turn to more aggressive treatments, such as:
- Hormone therapy
- Radiation therapy, including CyberKnife®
- Surgery to remove the cancer cells or your prostate