Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize (spread) from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. Prostate cancer may cause pain, difficulty in urinating, problems during sexual intercourse, or erectile dysfunction. Other symptoms can potentially develop during later stages of the disease.

Prostate cancer tends to develop in men over the age of fifty. It is most common in the developed world with increasing rates in the developing world. However, many men with prostate cancer never have symptoms, undergo no therapy, and eventually die of other unrelated causes. The presence of prostate cancer may be indicated by symptoms, physical examination, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), or biopsy.

Management strategies for prostate cancer should be guided by the severity of the disease. Many low-risk tumors can be safely followed with active surveillance. Curative treatment generally involves surgery, various forms of radiation therapy, or, less commonly, cryosurgery; hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are generally reserved for cases of advanced disease (although hormonal therapy may be given with radiation in some cases).

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