Doctors do not currently consider prostate cancer common in young adults, though a genetic predisposition to cancer may increase the odds of a young diagnosis. It is detectable via a biopsy in combination with other medical testing for confirmation, such as MRIs and ultrasound imaging.
It wasn’t until recent years that routine prostate screenings were recommended for individuals under 50.
Diagnoses of prostate cancer in individuals under 55 have risen considerably as a result of increased testing of younger men. Over 10 percent of new diagnoses are cases in men under 55. Researchers surmise that this is due to a combination of factors including:
- More young adults receive prostate screening before the age of 50, which means more early-stage onset cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed.
- Patients with a family history of prostate cancer may receive encouragement from their doctor to begin prostate cancer screening regularly at a younger age, resulting in more cases being discovered.
In the early stages, prostate cancer has limited or no physical symptoms, so some patients may go undiagnosed until it has progressed to a later stage and is more complicated to treat.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that originates in the male prostate gland. Risk factors increase the potential of having prostate cancer, but it is important to consult a healthcare professional to receive a diagnosis and possible treatment. The most common risk factors for prostate cancer include:
- Age: The risk of developing prostate cancer significantly increases after 50. According to the American Cancer Society, six out of 10 diagnoses occur in people over 65.
- Family History: Prostate cancer is most common in patients with a brother who also has the disease. Having other relatives with prostate cancer can increase the odds of having it as well.
- Genetic Mutation: Some gene expressions can increase the risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. For example, mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which are linked to breast and ovarian cancers, also increase the risk of the development of prostate cancer.
Some studies suggest that prostate cancer is also more likely to develop in those of African descent, and the onset is typically earlier than that of other ethnic groups.
How is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
Prostate cancer is diagnosed by biopsy, a procedure where a portion of tissue is removed and reviewed under a microscope for cancer cells. A Gleason score is used to determine if there is cancer and how likely it is to spread.
Prostate cancer symptoms include:
- Difficulty urinating
- Weak urine flow
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Pelvic bone pain
- Erectile dysfunction
- Frequent urination, especially at night
In some cases, prostate cancer will remain within the prostate and will not spread to other parts of the genitals or body. This is not always the case. Post-diagnosis, you may undergo staging. Staging is how doctors determine if cancer has spread beyond the prostate. Whether or not it has spread and how far tells doctors what stage of cancer you have and will inform their treatment plan.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Screening can help to identify prostate cancers before they spread or in their early stages. For men who are at risk, prostate-specific antigen testing and digital rectal examinations are the most common screenings. Before deciding which test is for you, consult with a healthcare professional. They can explain the risks, advantages and disadvantages of each screening method.
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing: A blood test that measures the level of PSA within the bloodstream. PSA originates in the prostate and is typically higher in those with prostate cancer. Other conditions, such as certain medications or an enlarged prostate, can also affect PSA levels.
- Digital Rectal Examination (DRE): A healthcare provider will insert a gloved hand into the rectum to feel for abnormalities in the prostate.
Neither PSA nor DRE is 100 percent accurate, and abnormal results are understandably stressful. Your doctor will be the best resource to provide an accurate interpretation of your results and map out a treatment plan or recommend additional testing if necessary.
Prostate Cancer Treatment
Treatment recommendations will vary based on the stage of cancer, the personal values of the patient, and whether it is high risk or low risk in terms of growth and stage. A qualified urologist or oncologist can guide you through the processes of determining what types of treatment are right for you.
Radical surgery and radiation therapy are two treatments recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to consider, and both are offered here at Community Cancer Center in Roseburg, OR. Whether these are appropriate will depend on a variety of factors, like the disease’s progress and your age.
Prostate Cancer Treatment at the Community Cancer Center in Roseburg, OR
Do you need care for prostate cancer in Oregon? We offer personalized treatment plans for those with prostate cancer, as well as screening services for those who may be at risk. To schedule a consultation, call us at 541-673-2267 (ext. 5100) or contact us online.