Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men, with around 20,000 new diagnoses each year. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in Australian men, behind lung cancer. One in nine men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime.
How do I know if I have prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer does not cause symptoms until it is in the advanced stages. Therefore most men with prostate cancer do not know they have it. In the advanced stages, prostate cancer may cause difficulty with urination, blood in the urine (haematuria) or pain in the hips, pelvis or back if the cancer has spread to the bones.
How is prostate cancer picked up?
In most men, prostate cancer is suspected when a PSA testis abnormal, or the prostate feels abnormal when examined by your doctor.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
A prostate biopsyis performed, where a needle is inserted into the prostate under ultrasound guidance and several small slithers of prostate tissue are removed. These are examined under a microscope by a pathologist to look for cancer cells. This is the only way prostate cancer can be diagnosed. A prostate MRI scanis also performed to check the size of the tumour and see whether there is any disease outside the prostate gland.
What is localised prostate cancer?
Localised prostate cancer is when the tumour is confined to the prostate gland and has not spread anywhere else in the body. In many cases, localised prostate cancer is curable by either surgery or radiotherapy.
What are the treatment options for localised prostate cancer?
There are three basic treatment options available. Click in the link to find out more about each treatment.
Do I need treatment?
Not all men with prostate cancer require treatment. Many prostate cancers are slow growing and will not cause problems. Others are more aggressive and will cause problems if left untreated. The decision to treat is based on the age and health of the patient and the aggressiveness of the cancer.
What is advanced prostate cancer?
Advanced prostate canceris where the cancer has spread from the prostate to other areas in the pelvis, the lymph glands or to the bones. It is not considered curable at this stage, however it may be slowed down by hormone therapy and some patients with advanced disease still live for many years.
For more information about prostate cancer, we suggest visiting the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia website.