Almost nobody likes to acknowledge the existence of cancer, let alone talk about it. This is especially when it comes to certain kinds of cancer, namely those that affect the reproductive system. Prostate cancer is one such affliction.
Over 23,000 Canadian men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis this year, accounting for almost ¼ of all new cancer diagnoses. It is the most common cancer in men by far, so the signs, diagnostics, and treatment options need to be out in the open. 4000 men will probably die as a result of the disease.
However the good news is the five year survival rate for prostate cancer is 96%. It accounts for only 10% of all cancer deaths in men. Between 2001 and 2009 the death rate declined by 4%. Per year. Granted there are certain aggressive forms, but overall prostate cancer is survivable. One of the reasons for such success is better, earlier detection.
First, know the signs. Blood in urine or ejaculate, difficulty or increased frequency of urination, weak urine stream, including starting and stopping, sudden erectile dysfunction, painful ejaculation, bone pain and fractures. These symptoms are why no one likes to talk about prostate cancer.
But you also need to know that there are not always symptoms. There’s a good chance of a total absence of any obvious signs. Enter diagnostics, some tried and true, some cutting edge and accurate beyond anything we’ve had before.
Routine diagnostics include rectal exams and checking levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). PSA is a blood test that checks a protein produced by the prostate gland. In theory, the higher the PSA level, the greater the chance of prostate cancer. PSA tests have a major flaw, however, in that PSA levels can be elevated for several reasons, and some men with active prostate cancer don’t show elevated PSA at all.
A more accurate test is PCA3. In fact, PCA3 is the most precise diagnostic currently available for detecting prostate cancer because it looks for a gene that is involved in the formation of prostate cancer specifically. A standard prostate exam stimulates the prostate to release cells that are collected in a urine sample. If cancer is present, PCA3 will be as well.
Regardless of which diagnostic proves active cancer, several options are available. Most often these include surgery, radiation, and hormone therapy. In advanced, aggressive cases that have metastasized, chemotherapy is also a good option.
Those are the standard methods, but depending on various factors, such as age, health, and grade of cancer, there are alternative, complementary options available. Changing diet and lifestyle, introducing supplements, and undergoing regular intravenous therapy can all decrease side effects and improve quality of life while giving the best odds of treatment success.
Prevention is perhaps the most important aspect to know. Lots of exercise and avoiding alcohol, sugar, and processed foods is a great start. In addition, maintain a healthy weight and eat a varied diet rich in walnuts, tomatoes, fruits and vegetables, and lean meats. Simple steps to better your health in any scenario.
There is no need for silence regarding any aspect of prostate cancer. It exists. It is far from pleasant. It is survivable. Prevention, diagnostics, and treatment are available that provide good outcomes. The Nardella clinic can complement conventional diagnostics and treatment and perform stand-alone testing and exams.
Contact us to find out how to achieve the best health possible.