This article discusses the different types of prostate cancer and what to do if you get diagnosed with one. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men over the age of 50. Learning about the different types of prostate cancer and how to check for them can improve your chance of recovery. It also helps to understand more about how to keep your prostate healthy.
Getting routine checks from doctors and being mindful of prostate cancer symptoms can help early detection. Also, there are ways to reduce prostate cancer risk by implementing a healthy lifestyle, such as avoiding tobacco products and maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise. Continue reading to learn about the different types of prostate cancer and how you can respond to them.
Types of Prostate Cancer
The prostate is the small, walnut-shaped gland in males that produces seminal fluid that supports sperm health and transports sperm to various parts of the body. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in males, and some varieties grow slowly, while others are aggressive.
Most prostate cancers grow slowly and need minimal or no treatment. However, those that are aggressive spread quickly, and any cancer that spreads quickly reduces survival chances. As with any other cancer type, early detection (when the cancer is still confined to the prostate) offers the best survival chances as with any other cancer type.
The types of prostate cancer:
Nearly all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas, which develop from the prostate’s cells.
Other types of prostate cancers include:
- Small cell carcinomas
- Neuroendocrine tumors
- Transitional cell carcinomas
Most of these cancers are slow-spreading. However, some prostate cancers are aggressive and spread quickly.
What Are the Precancerous Conditions of Prostate Cancer?
There are a few conditions that are considered precancerous indicators of prostate cancer. Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) and proliferative inflammatory atrophy (PIA) are the two most common precancerous conditions.
The changes in the cells that occur from PIN are only visible under a microscope, and in low-grade PIN, the cells appear normal. Only in high-grade PIN do the cells undergo a significant transformation.
In proliferative inflammatory atrophy, the prostate cells appear smaller than usual and irritate the area. The cells themselves are not cancerous, but researchers have found that PIA can lead to either PIN or directly cause prostate cancer.
What Causes Prostate Cancer?
Doctors don’t exactly know what causes prostate cancer, but they know cancer begins in the prostate when changes occur in DNA. The DNA changes misinform the cells about their growth and cause them to divide more rapidly than normal cells.
The abnormal cells accumulate to form a tumor, and when cells from the tumor break off to invade nearby tissues, the tumor metastasizes, and cancer spreads to other parts of the body.
What Are the Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?
Though the cause of prostate cancer is unknown, we know a few things that lead to an increased risk of developing cancer.
- Old Age- Age is one of the most common risk factors, and your likelihood of developing prostate cancer increases significantly after 50.
- Race- African Americans have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. We do not yet know why. Their cancer is also more likely to be aggressive and advanced.
- Family History- You are more likely to have prostate cancer if one of your blood relatives have had it. If you have a family history of breast cancer, specifically with genes BRCA or BRCA2, you have a higher risk.
- Obesity- Obesity may increase your risk of prostate cancer compared to people with healthy weights. However, inconclusive evidence exists on this matter. Obese people are also more likely to have more aggressive cancers than those at healthy weights.
When Should I Start Getting Tested for Prostate Cancer?
General guidelines recommend that you start receiving tests at age 55. However, if you have any of the above risk factors, you should receive tests beginning at age 40. The prostate cancer test can be a PSA blood test, which screens for a particular protein (prostate-specific antigen) present in prostate cells.
- For men in their 40s and 50s: A PSA score greater than 2.5 ng/ml is considered abnormal.
- For men in their 60s: PSA scores larger than 4.0 ng/ml are considered abnormal if excessive rises occur every year.
- Abnormal rises- PSA scores can be considered abnormal if they rise more than 0.35 ng/ml in a year.
If you have an abnormal PSA level your doctor will most likely recommend that you get retested. If another test comes back abnormal, the doctor will order a biopsy. A biopsy is the only way to conclusively determine whether someone has prostate cancer.
Who Should I See for Prostate Cancer Treatment?
Depending on your condition, your doctor will most likely recommend meeting with one of the following specialists to address treatment.
- Urologists- Surgeons who treat the urinary system specifically.
- Radiation oncologists- Doctors who treat cancer with radiation therapy.
- Medical oncologists- Doctors who treat cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy.
- Surgical oncologists- Doctors who treat cancer by surgically removing cancerous tissue. Surgical oncologists can also perform specific biopsy types.
Your case’s specifics will determine whether you see one or a combination of these doctors.
Conclusion- What Is Prostate Cancer? FAQs
Prostate cancer is one of the leading cancer types in men over 50. However, if you have a family history of prostate cancer or are obese, getting tested regularly starting at age 40 can significantly aid your recovery and treatment.
Maintaining a healthy prostate by exercising regularly, eating a clean diet, and taking a prostate supplement, such as prostate911, may also potentially reduce your risk for prostate cancer. Early detection gives you the best chances for survival, and it decreases the chances that a tumor has metastasized.
Many prostate cancers grow slowly, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get tested regularly if you are over 50. If men live long enough, they will eventually get prostate cancer. However, what determines whether you can beat prostate cancer is early detection and correct diagnosis. After receiving your diagnosis, your doctor will be able to recommend your best options for treatment.