Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow and grow faster than normal in your prostate. It is the nut-shaped gland that produces fluid to nourish and transport sperm.
It is one of the most common types of cancer. Some forms of this cancer are mild and may require minimal treatment, while others are more aggressive.
Here’s what people with prostate cancer want you to know.
Prostate cancer can be asymptomatic.
Like some other forms of cancer, prostate cancer may not cause any symptoms in its early stages.
Jefferey Presley, 59, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2021. Other than an enlarged prostate and his peeing a little more than normal, Presley didn’t notice any other signs before- runner. Her doctor discovered her cancer through routine blood tests.
Advanced stages of prostate cancer can include:
The symptoms you have may vary or you may not have any symptoms.
Schedule regular check-ups.
Since prostate cancer is difficult to detect at an early stage, it’s important that you stick to your doctor’s appointments and stay in touch with your team. They can tell if testing for changes in your prostate specific antigen (PSA) level or using a digital rectal exam (DRE) can help check for any problems.
If your doctor finds prostate cancer at an early stage, it is much easier to treat.
“Early detection, in my mind, is the key. Don’t wait, ”Presley says. “Whether you’re 20 or 40, go to the doctor. It’s just a matter of taking care of yourself.
Albert Bo Smith, 67, found out he had prostate cancer more than 7 years ago. But without the fact that Smith regularly visited his doctor, his doctors might not have discovered his cancer.
“It’s really important, as we get older, to have regular check-ups with the doctors,” he says. “Fortunately, I did.”
If your doctor notices any change, they may suggest other tests, such as a biopsy. This is when your doctor will take a piece of your tissue for a closer look in a lab.
Do your own research.
If your doctor finds out that you have prostate cancer, don’t panic. There are many forms of treatment. Smith suggests that you do your own research on prostate cancer therapies.
“When you get prostate cancer, it’s really important to research the different treatments,” says Smith. “Years ago we didn’t have as many treatment options as we do today. “
Considering your quality of life before treatment is crucial. Some types of treatment may meet your needs better than others. For example, brachytherapy, which delivers radiation directly to the prostate with much lower doses to surrounding areas, may be safer and just as effective as traditional radiation therapy.
Get a second opinion.
After finding out that you have prostate cancer, you may find it helpful to get a second opinion from another doctor. After doing this himself, Smith felt like he was in better control of his cancer treatment.
“This [second] doctor referred me to someone who could go over all the different possibilities. Fortunately, I had a choice. I had options, ”he says.
Ray Posey, 69, urges people to be their own advocates and seek the care they deserve. He finds that getting a second opinion can help you find answers that might be more useful to you.
Take care of you.
With prostate cancer, you can feel depressed, worried, or anxious. But there are many ways to maintain a good quality of life.
“The first big message I would say is that there is help out there,” says Smith.
Smith says he uses counseling services and support groups, in person or online. Ken Susalla, 75, had both throat and prostate cancer. He now works as a volunteer for others facing a cancer diagnosis. He is part of an individual support group that connects people recently diagnosed with others who have lived with cancer.
“If I can help someone get through this disease, I will,” says Susalla.
Relaxation classes like yoga can also help a lot. Studies also suggest that getting regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet can help you feel better.
Presley discovers that he is able to control his mental health by focusing on the positive aspects. Thanks to his faith and his favorite hobbies, Presley can help but dwell on unwanted thoughts.
Susalla says it’s important to plan for your future treatment and care, but it helps focus on the things you can control. Don’t get carried away with the past and do your best not to worry about the future.
You can live with prostate cancer.
Some people can live with this prostate cancer for many years, or it can go away and come back. Since most people are diagnosed with their cancer at an early stage, many live with prostate cancer for a long time.
Susalla finds it helpful to tell others that, in most cases, living with prostate cancer is like living with any other health problem. If you take care of your health, go to your appointments and take treatment, you will likely have a good quality of life for many years to come.
Posey says dealing with long-term illness can be like an “emotional roller coaster” at times. There are times when you can worry about your cancer coming back, but at other times you can celebrate good test results.
You can be healed.
If your cancer remains in your prostate (your doctor may call it “localized), the survival rate is close to 100%. The overwhelming majority of men recover from their cancer. This is yet another reason why detection and early treatment are so important.
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