Men fear the diagnosis of prostate cancer because it means drastic changes in their lives. The prostate is located in front of the rectum and just below the bladder. It increases in size as men age. From the size of a walnut in a young man, the prostate gets much larger in older man. When prostate cells start growing out of control, it signals cancer is present and active.
Different types of Prostate Cancer
The American Cancer Society says that most prostate cancers are diagnosed as adenocarcinoma, which develops in the gland cells. It is the most common form of prostate cancer. There are several other rare forms of prostate cancer, which include:
. Small cell carcinomas
. Neuroendocrine tumors
. Transitional cell carcinomas
If you or a loved one are diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is likely to be an adenocarcinoma. Although some prostate cancers are prone to rapid growth and can spread quickly, the majority are slow-growing. Quite often autopsies show men who had prostate cancer died of other causes, and neither they nor their doctors were aware of its presence.
How Does Prostate Cancer Start?
According to medical experts, tiny changes in the size and shape of prostate gland cells, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), indicate the start of cancer. Statistics show that close to fifty percent of men 50 years of age have PIN. Although the cells have stayed in place, microscopic evidence indicates the cell changes have taken place. If the cells become cancerous, they move to other parts of the prostate. The cellular changes in the prostate gland are graded as low-grade or high-grade. If the cell changes are identified as high-grade, it is most likely there are cancer cells in the prostate. When a patient is found to have a high-grade PIN, his doctor will monitor him closely and conduct another biopsy after a short period of time.
When Prostate Cancer Is Found
A doctor must determine the stage of the cancer and how far it has spread in order for him or her to define the prognosis. Knowing the stage will also aid in selecting the right therapies to use for treating the prostate cancer. The system most doctors use to determine the stage is the tumor/node/metastases (TNM) because it determines the tumor size, the number of lymph nodes are involved, and if other metastases have occurred.
It’s important for men to have annual checkups, which provide doctors the opportunity to recognize symptoms of possible prostate problems and schedule follow-ups.
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