Prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cause of death in American men, as well as being the most common form of cancer found in males. Prostate cancer is especially prevalent in African-American men, and twice as likely to be fatal.
Prostate cancer screening tests and treatments are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure safety and efficiency.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is found beneath the bladder, surrounding the upper area of the urethra, which is where urine is transported from the bladder.
Testing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is used to measure prostate cancer risk. Prostate gland cells are responsible for producing PSA. This form of testing is responsible for the early detection of prostate cancer in the U.S.
The Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is generally a slow growing disease, which is why symptoms are often not seen until the advanced stages. When symptoms do hit, they usually include a weak or interrupted urine flow, difficulty starting urination, and more frequent urination, particularly at night.
It should be noted that these symptoms may not necessarily mean you have prostate cancer, as they also see in a benign enlarged prostate. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. Many men pass away without ever knowing prostate cancer was present, while others die from other causes. This form of cancer is at its most dangerous when it starts to spread outside the prostate. It is not usually found in men under 50, and experts believe that most elderly males have some traces of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Treatments
Survival benefits are a must for any prostate cancer treatment, which was why the FDA approved docetaxel, a chemotherapy, back in 2004. This was huge, since years of research had failed to deliver a treatment that effectively extended the life of metastatic (cancer that spread from the initial location to other areas of the body) prostate cancer patients.
Daniel Suzman, M.D., a medical officer in FDA’s Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, explains that prostate cancer essentially becomes incurable the moment it spreads to other parts of the body. The good news is that the FDA has approved 5 more products after docetaxel, all of which have shown to deliver improvements in survival.
Improved survival rates were also found when adding docetaxel to hormonal therapy for men with metastatic disease. Two major trials were performed on men who had previously gone untreated to achieve these results.
This treatment process is now considered standard for males who have experienced a spread of their disease to soft tissue spots or areas in the bone, assuming that they are good chemotherapy candidates. There are side effects, some fatal, that come with the use of docetaxel. These include serious allergic reactions and low white blood cell counts. More common side effects include loss of appetite, infection, low blood cell counts, nosebleeds, nerve pain, hair loss, rash, and weight gain.