6 things to know about prostate cancer
When it comes to prostate cancer, screening and early detection is key. This September, prostate cancer awareness month, local radiation oncologist Anurag Agarwal, MD shares important information about the second most common cancer in American men.
1. What are the risk factors?
Having a risk factor for a disease doesn’t mean that you will definitely get it, but it does make it more likely. You may even have multiple risk factors for prostate cancer and never get it. However, you’re more likely to develop prostate cancer if you:
- Are older – prostate cancer is rare before the age of 40, but increases after age 50
- Are black – black men can carry a greater risk for prostate cancer, and have more aggressive cancer types
- Have a strong family history of prostate cancer
- Have specific genetic conditions which are also associated with breast cancer and ovarian cancer in women (BRCA mutations)
- Are obese
2. What are the symptoms to look out for?
3. Who should be screened?
Guidelines between different organizations vary, so it’s best to discuss with your individual physician. A general rule of thumb is that men over 45 should consider screening, but this could be lower based off certain risk factors.
4. How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
Tests for prostate cancer include:
- Digital rectal examination (DRE)
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test
- Transrectal ultrasound scan
- MRI of the prostate with IV contrast
- PSMA PET CT scans are a new technology that might be used in the future
5. What are the treatment options?
Depending on your prostate cancer prognosis, you and your physician may choose not to treat your tumor at all. If you’re diagnosed with a type of early-stage prostate cancer, your doctor might recommend PSA bloodwork every 3 months and a repeat biopsy later on. The two most common treatments are radiation, or surgery. Each of these results in similar cure rates, usually. There are other less common options. There are also some newer drugs for very advanced cancers. You should seek guidance for your individual situation from an experienced radiation oncologist and urologist who work as a team with your primary care provider.
6. Why does technology matter?
Innovation in technology may provide better outcomes and enhance the way patients experience treatment, for example, with reduced side effects, a shorter recovery period, or increased comfort. At GenesisCare, we are finding new ways to deliver the best possible outcome for our patients. Many of our centers are proud to be among the first medical centers in the US equipped to offer FDA approved PSMA PET, which uses targeted imaging to detect areas of suspected metastasis and prostate cancer recurrences.
About Anurag Agarwal, MD
Anurag Agarwal, MD is double board certified in Radiation Oncology and Internal Medicine. No other radiation oncologist in Florida has a longer experience with the CyberKnife® system as Dr. Agarwal who treated his first patient using this technology in 2001. Dr. Agarwal completed fellowship training in Protons at Harvard Medical School’s Mass General Hospital and is an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, and at FAU Schmidt College of Medicine.