MemorialCare Health System Your Health: Targeting Prostate Cancer
More than 234,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and 27,000 will die of the disease.
But while the statistics are daunting, the prognosis is often excellent. “Prostate cancer grows very slowly in most men,” says Barton Wachs, M.D., a urologist at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. “When the disease is treated in its early stages, the cure rate is over 90 percent.”
Doctors recommend prostate screening starting at age 50—and as early as 45 for African-Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer. During a digital rectal exam (DRE), a physician feels the prostate—a small gland that produces seminal fluid—for abnormalities. A PSA blood test measures levels of Protein-Specific Antigen, a substance that is often elevated or is rising rapidly in men with this type of cancer.
The most widely used treatment option for men under 70 with early-stage cancer is removal of the gland. Robotic-assisted surgery has contributed to the success of this procedure because of its precision, reducing the incidence of incontinence and impotence sometimes associated with conventional surgery.
In some cases, radiation therapy is also used to kill cancer cells by either directing beams toward the cancer from outside the body or implanting radioactive-filled seeds into
Have you had your annual cancer screening this year?
Schedule an appointment at a MemorialCare location near you.
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