Understanding Prostrate Cancer
Because cancer takes the name of where it begins, prostate cancer develops in the prostate gland, which is in front of the rectum and just below the bladder. Only men have a prostate gland. Prostate cancer cells grow, crowding the normal cells, causing the body to dysfunction. Eventually, cancer cells will spread to the rest of the body, including the bones. This process is known as metastasis.
Questions for your doctor
- Are you certain that I have cancer?
- What caused me to have cancer?
- Can you please be specific about the kind of cancer you think that I have?
- Would you write down everything for me about my cancer so that I can understand it and share the information with others correctly?
- Can you tell me what type of treatments are available?
- What is my short and long-term prognosis?
- Is there anything I can do now to slow the growth of my cancer?
- What resources are available for support?
- Is there any research or homework you have for me?
Unfortunately, prostate cancer tends to grow very slowly which means many men don’t have any symptoms of the disease until much later when it has fully taken hold and possibly spread throughout the body. Symptoms to look for include; erectile dysfunction, pain or trouble peeing, blood in your urine, back or hip pain, or any other pain that appears to feel like it’s in the bones.
In order to determine if you have prostate cancer, doctors who are treating prostate cancer Denver, CO,or elsewhere, will perform a myriad of tests that may include:
- An MRI will give a clear picture of the prostate gland and determined if the cancer has spread outside of the gland.
- A bone scan to determine if the cancer has metastasized into your bones.
- A CT scan will help determine if the cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland.
- A biopsy of the lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes from the prostate.
- Transrectal ultrasound which uses echoes that bounce off the prostate gland to help create a picture of the prostate gland.
- PSA blood tests will also help determine the PSA levels in the blood have gone up due to the prostate cancer.
The Gleason system allows the doctor to assess the prostate cells and assign a grade to the cancer which will help the doctor to understand how quickly it is drawing and how much it has spread throughout the body. The scale is from 2 to 10 with the higher number meaning the more irregular the cells are in the more likely they are to be growing and spreading more quickly. Be sure you have your doctor explained thoroughly to you what number he has assigned to your prostate cancer and why.