About Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a gland involved in the male reproductive system. It is surrounded by other glands, nerves and organs involved in sexual function. It is wrapped around the urethra and helps control the flow of urine.

Prostate cancer is a malignant tumor of the prostate gland. It is the most common cancer occurring in men in the United States. Over 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year. It is responsible for more deaths than any other male cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 218,890 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in the US in 2007.

Prostate Cancer Facts Include:
• About 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime.
• 1 in 34 will die of prostate cancer.
• There are over 1.8 MM prostate cancer survivors in the U.S.
• About 1/3 of American men by age 50 will have microscopic evidence of cancer.
• 1/2 to to 3/4 will have cancerous changes in the prostate by age 75.
• More than half of all men will have some cancer in their prostate by age 80.

Treatment options and prognosis depend on the stage of the cancer, the Gleason Score and the patient’s age and general health.

Although several cell types exist, 99% develop in the glandular cells which produce the seminal fluid secreted by the prostate. These tumors are referred to as adenocarcinoma. There is great variability in the rate of growth in prostate cancer while many tumors are slow-growing there are significant number of tumors that grow rapidly. Based on biopsy findings slow-growing cannot be differentiated from fast growing tumors.

Causes and Risk Factors

Genetics can play a role in the risk of prostate cancer as the presence of BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes increase the rate of prostate cancer in those patients.

Prostate Cancer also has an affinity for certain ethnic groups and may be caused by the lifestyle among these groups. For example, African-American Males have the highest incidence of prostate cancer of any single group in the U.S. However native African males have one of the lowest rates of prostate cancer in the world. Likewise Japanese men who affect a Western Lifestyle experience a rate of prostate cancer equal to that of any Western European or American group, whereas Japanese males who live the traditional lifestyle have lowest rates of prostate cancer in the world.

Diet and exposure to environmental toxins are thought to play a part in the development of prostate cancer. Diets rich in red meat, fat, dairy products, and having a high LDL (bad cholesterol) are thought to greatly increase prostate cancer risk. Obesity is also thought to increase the risk of prostate cancer. Men with very high Body Mass Index (BMI) of 32.5% or higher are 30 times more likely to die of prostate cancer. Men with a BMI of 35% are 60% more likely to have a reoccurrence of prostate cancer in three years.

Diets rich in raw foods and vegetables are known to help prevent prostate cancer and intake of antioxidants seem to decrease the incidence of prostate cancer. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can help prevent cancer and supplementation of selenium Vitamin D and E can decrease the risk. Exercise can also play a role in the prevention of cancer.

Early detection generally increases the opportunity for cure and decreases the morbidity associated with the disease. It is also very significant in terms with respect to quality of life issues in how prostate cancer is diagnosed, treated and cured.