Prostate Cancer – Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention
If you’ve noticed more men sporting moustaches lately, it could be part of Movember—a global movement to raise awareness for prostate cancer and men’s mental health.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide.¹ But with screening, the disease is often caught early when treatment has the best chance of success.
Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland grow out of control. Usually, prostate cancer grows slowly, but some aggressive types can spread quickly.²
Prostate cancer symptoms
Early prostate cancer doesn't typically cause symptoms. But as the cancer grows, it may cause symptoms, such as:³
- Urinating frequently, especially at night
- Blood in urine or semen
- Trouble getting an erection
- Pain in the hips, back or chest
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
- Loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider.
What increases prostate cancer risk?⁴
The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown. However, there are risk factors that can increase a man's chances of developing the disease.
The risk increases after age 50, with about 60% of cases in men older than 65. Prostate cancer occurs most often in African American men and non-Hispanic white men. The rates are highest in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia and on Caribbean islands.
In addition, having a father or brother with prostate cancer doubles a man’s risk. However, most prostate cancers occur in men without a family history.
Remember that having risk factors doesn’t mean you’ll develop prostate cancer, and it’s possible to develop the disease without having any risk factors.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you’re at risk.
When should I get screened for prostate cancer?
The discussion with your healthcare provider about screening should take place at:⁵
- Age 50 for men at average risk
- Age 45 for men at high risk
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk
A prostate-specific antigen blood test and a digital rectal exam are 2 tests that may be done to look for possible signs of prostate cancer. If needed, a prostate biopsy may be done to confirm a prostate cancer diagnosis.
How is prostate cancer treated?
The treatment for prostate cancer depends on the aggressiveness and stage of the cancer.
The main form of treatment for prostate cancer is chemotherapy. Another option is immunotherapy, which uses your own immune system to fight cancer.
Medications may also be used, including:
- CYP17 inhibitors: Yonsa (abiraterone acetate, fine-particle), Zytiga (abiraterone acetate)
- Anti-androgens: Erleada (apalutamide), Nubeqa (darolutamide), Xtandi (enzalutamide)
How we support men living with prostate cancer
If you or someone you know has prostate cancer, we offer personalized support at the CenterWell Specialty Pharmacy Cancer Center of Excellence. You can get a dedicated team to help you manage all aspects of your prostate cancer therapy, including your mental health.
Here’s what our expert team of pharmacists, nurses and financial advisors can do for you:
- Emotional support: We know what you’re going through and can listen to your concerns, answer your questions and help you manage any stress or anxiety.
- Financial assistance: We work with grants, foundations and manufacturers to help you get the care you need, and we handle all the paperwork.
- Clinical guidance: We have pharmacists available 24/7 for clinical support and work closely with your healthcare provider throughout your personalized treatment plan.
Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult your doctor to determine what is right for you.
- "Prostate Cancer," American Cancer Society, last accessed October 23, 2023.
- "What Is Prostate Cancer?" American Cancer Society, last accessed October 23, 2023.
- "Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer," American Cancer Society, last accessed October 23, 2023.
- "Prostate Cancer Risk Factors," American Cancer Society, last accessed October 23, 2023.
- "American Cancer Society Recommendations for Prostate Cancer Early Detection," American Cancer Society, last accessed October 23, 2023.