What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is marked by an uncontrolled (malignant) growth of cells in the prostate gland. The prostate is the walnut-sized gland in men, located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum, surrounding the urethra – the tube that carries urine out of the bladder. The prostate produces and stores fluid that helps to make semen, and is involved in regulating bladder control.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in men in the United State, aside from skin cancer, and often begins without symptoms. In 2018, the American Cancer Society estimates that 164,690 men will be newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, 29,430 will die from the disease and 1 in every 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. Prostate cancer can be slow-growing, such that many men die of other diseases before the prostate cancer causes significant problems. However, many prostate cancers are more aggressive and can spread outside the confines of the prostate gland, which can be deadly. The prostate cancer survival rate is greatly improved with early detection and personalized treatment.
It is not yet known exactly what causes prostate cancer, but researchers are studying certain risk factors to determine if these factors contribute to prostate cells developing into cancer.
Certain men are at higher risk than others for prostate cancer, which may affect when they should start being screened. The risk increases with age, particularly after age 50. Some risk factors include:
However, there may be measures to aid in the prevention of prostate cancer and that can reduce risk, including regular exercise and diets low in fat and high in fruits, vegetables and whole fibers. Foods with high amounts of the antioxidant lycopene – such as tomatoes, grapefruit, and watermelon – may help to lower the risk. Additional prevention strategies are currently being studied.
In most cases, prostate cancer causes no symptoms.
In rare cases, men may experience certain symptoms when they have advanced prostate cancer. However, these symptoms are also present in many men who do not have cancer, so it is best to discuss them with a doctor before jumping to any conclusions. Some of these symptoms can include difficulty emptying the bladder, blood in the urine, and bone pains.
Prostate cancer screening consists of:
The UCLA Prostate Cancer Program offers a broad range of innovative diagnostic and treatment options to patients who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. UCLA offers an “integrated prostate cancer program” where patients can consult with both radiation oncologists and urological surgeons at the same visit, at the UCLA Institute for Urologic Oncology. State of the art UCLA services include:
Clinical trials are essential for developing new methods of preventing, diagnosing and treating prostate cancer. The UCLA Prostate Cancer Program offers patients access to ground-breaking experimental drugs in its Clinical Trials Program that allows patients to receive tomorrow’s approved drugs today. Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Open for Enrollment >