WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men within the US, with 200,000 – 300,000 new cases detected annually.
The term cancer generally refers to the abnormal growth of certain cells within the body. Unlike normal cells, the body cannot stop the growth of cancerous cells. If untreated, these cells may multiply and cause problems within the area they originated and/or spread to other parts of the body and cause a multitude of symptoms.
Prostate cancer consists of a variety of illnesses from slowly progressive localized disease to a more aggressive cancer with a tendency to progress locally and spread beyond the prostate into lymph nodes, bones, or other organs.
The T-stage (tumor extent determined by digital rectal examination or DRE), the level of the prostate specific antigen (PSA), and Gleason grade (the microscopic appearance) are the major prognostic indicators.
The rate of rise of the PSA (amount of change over 1 year) and the number of positive biopsy specimens (fewer are better) are also important factors. A summary analysis of these prognostic factors helps the physician to recommend appropriate treatment for each individual patient.