Editor's note: September is prostate cancer awareness month. Stephen Trauzzi, MD, the chief of urologic surgery at Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle, answers some questions about prostate cancer.
What is prostate cancer? Prostate cancer is an uncontrolled growth of prostate cells. As with any cancer in the human body, this growth of malignant cells can spread to other part of the body and adversely affect the function of these organs. This can lead to significant morbidity and eventually possible death.
How common is prostate cancer? One in six men will develop prostate cancer. As men age, the change of developing prostate cancer increases. It is the most common cancer in men. This year 200,000 men will be diagnosed with the disease and 32,000 will die from it.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed? If there is a suspicion of prostate cancer, either by an abnormal digital rectal exam or an elevated serum PSA level, a transrectal ultrasound and prostate biopsy will be performed. The specimens consisting of cores of prostate tissue are then sent to a pathology lab for evaluation.
What are the risk factors for prostate cancer? African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
How is early-stage prostate cancer treated? Generally, prostate cancer is treated with intent to cure by either surgical removal of the prostate or by administering radiation therapy.
For more information, go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.