Life with Prostate Cancer
Receiving the diagnosis of any kind of cancer can disconcerting, with prostate cancer being no exception. However, with the proper guidance, treatment and care, many men can lead long and healthy lives. Having a strong support system is helpful in keeping a positive attitude during treatment. Joining a support group, having your friends or family involved as well as educating yourself on the disease and it’s treatments can help prevent the psychologically burdening news. It is important to voice your concerns if you begin to feel signs of depression such as loss of interest in your daily activities, changes in your sleep, or feelings of guilt.
Understanding Prostate Cancer Stages
It is important to know at what stage the cancer is in, as different stages involve different degrees of treatment. Also, it is important to understand how the different treatment options work. Remember, knowledge is power and the more you know, the better you can make an informed decision.
Often, with early screenings, prostate cancer can be caught in its early stages and dealt with before it becomes more difficult to treat. The Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) as well as the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test can help detect irregularities which may indicate prostate cancer. Once a biopsy definitively determines presence of prostate cancer, it is important to determine how advance the disease is. Classified in “stages,” the higher the stage, the more advanced the cancer:
- Stage I: Refers to the cancer being present in one-half of one lobe of the prostate with a PSA (What is PSA?) of less than 10.
- Stage II: Can refer to the presence of the cancer in one-half or more of one lobe of the prostate, with PSA level (PSA Test and Prostate Cancer) less than 20.
- Stage III: Refers to spread of the cancer outside the prostate and may have reached the seminal vesicles. The PSA levels (PSA Test and Race) can vary in Stage III.
- Stage IV: Indicates that the cancer has usually spread to the surrounding areas such as other organs, tissues and bone. The PSA level (PSA Test Importance) can vary as well.
It is important to remember that these are not the only criteria for determining the stages of cancer. Other units of measurement, such as the Gleason score, are also used to determine the extent and severity of the disease.
Prostate Cancer Treatment
There are treatments available for each stage, and determining which one is right for you is a discussion you should have with your physician and loved ones. It is important to note that even with proper treatment, follow up visits should be kept regularly to check for the recurrence of cancer. Any new symptoms should be reported to your doctor immediately.
Life with prostate cancer does not have to be a death sentence. Many patients with the disease go on to lead healthy lives, all while undergoing treatment. As always, augmenting treatment with healthy lifestyle modifications and exercise can help work with the treatment in a synergistic fashion. If you or someone you know has prostate cancer, speak with your physician today about treatments and ways you can play an active role in its care.