The very word cancer is still quite chilling for lots of people, which makes it even more important to understand the reality of what prostate cancer is, its prevalence, symptoms and treatment options.

Prevalence of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men generally and is often associated with older men, although it can occur at any age. As with all types of cancer, early detection can significantly improve outcomes, and much work is done to help people identify symptoms at an early stage to get proper and effective treatment.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

The most common symptoms of prostate cancer refer to problems people have when urinating. These normally present as having a problem starting or stopping passing water, there is a burning sensation or some type of pain during this process or any type of blood in the urine. An assessment will also include changes to the frequency of how often someone urinates, especially if they are passing water a lot more during the night.

It is also important to note that symptoms can include abnormal levels of pain during ejaculation, as well as any level of blood in someone's sperm. As with most medical conditions, most of these symptoms can also be found in less serious conditions, which is why it is important to have them checked by a medical professional as soon as is possible.

Treatment Options

Several different treatment options are depending upon the age of the person, the severity of cancer and whether or not it has spread to other parts of the body.

1. Watchful waiting

This is a phrase commonly used in prostate cancer treatment. It generally means that the person has slow-growing cancer that left to itself is unlikely to do much damage to the individual. This is quite common in more elderly men where it is considered the risks of cancer or any surgery are outweighed by the benefits of leaving it alone. With this approach, the person is monitored regularly, to make sure that cancer has not grown at a rate that has changed since the original diagnosis, and that leaving it alone remains the best option. If significant growth starts to occur, then treatment options are likely to be reassessed and may include more regular biopsies.

2. Surgery and Radiography

These are the two most common types of treatment that are used to treat prostate cancer when it is considered necessary. Prostate cancer surgery can either be a keyhole surgery or can involve a more major intrusion into the body. Radiography involves the use of X-rays to destroy cancer cells and may include an implant into the prostate itself. Both these types of treatment may have certain side effects, which should be taken into account when discussing the best treatment options with the patient. All treatment will take into account the age and general health of the patient, as well as the severity of the growth of cancer itself.

3. Palliative care

If cancer has spread to other parts of the body, a process known as metastasising, then it may well be that there is no treatment available that can cure it, and the person needs to be advised that is likely to be terminal. At this stage, palliative care options need to be discussed as soon as possible, to give the person the best possible quality of life that they have remaining.

Whilst there may not be a treatment available to cure cancer, there is usually a lot that can be done to alleviate pain, and the sometimes becomes the most important factor in the palliative care process, either in a hospice, in a hospital or the person's home.