Prostate Cancer, the second most common type of cancer in men, represents 13.3% of all new cancer cases diagnosed. After age 50 years, the risk of developing PC increases dramatically, and PC is diagnosed most frequently in patients aged 65 to 74 years. The median age at diagnosis is 66 years. PC is most prevalent among African Americans. It is the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic men, and the fourth most common among Asian/Pacific Islander men. The Five-year survival rate is almost 100% when the cancer is confined to the prostate, and 29% when it spreads. Dr. Bankhead is your local Prostate and Bladder Cancer Expert.
Bladder Cancer is the 4th most common cancer in men and the 11th most common in women. Men are four times more likely than women to develop BC. The risk of developing BC in one’s lifetime is 1 in 26 in men and 1 in 90 in women. White individuals are diagnosed with BC almost twice as often as African American or Hispanic persons. American Indians/Alaska Natives have the lowest BC rate. BC has an average age at diagnosis of 73 years. The survival rate is still very high, with 78% of patients reaching the 5 year survival rate.
Prostate Cancer Exam
Beginning at about age 50 (earlier if your family history suggests it), all men should consider starting routine screening for prostate cancer. Routine screening includes two types of tests—both are simple and relatively painless.
The first test is the digital rectal exam (DRE). For this test, your doctor will lubricate a gloved finger and gently insert it into your rectum. The prostate is just in front of the rectum, and if yours is enlarged or irregular in shape, the doctor will easily be able to detect it. The test is quite brief, and it might be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful.
The PSA Test
The second type of test is equally simple: the PSA test. This is a blood test, and since your doctor will already be drawing blood for other tests, the test order can just be added to the list. Results should be back within about 14 days.
The PSA test measures the level of prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate, and a rising PSA level can be one of the first signs of prostate cancer. A PSA level under 3.0 ng/mL is considered “normal,” but there are other factors that can cause higher PSA levels.
If your prostate isn’t enlarged and your PSA level is within normal range, your doctor will likely suggest repeating the tests at regular intervals of 1-2 years as part of your normal checkups.
If your prostate shows signs of enlargement or irregularity, or your PSA level comes back a little high, your doctor may suggest repeating the tests after an interval of time to see if your prostate has changed further or your level is on the rise–an indication of a potential problem.
There are many reasons why a man’s prostate may be enlarged–the presence of cancer is only one. So, even if your doctor finds something unusual, it may not mean that you have prostate cancer. The next steps could include repeating the tests, performing an ultrasound exam of your prostate, or taking a biopsy of the prostate gland.
The bladder is a hollow, flexible pouch in your pelvis. Its main job is to store urine before it leaves your body. Your kidneys make pee. Tubes called ureters carry the pee from your kidneys to your bladder. When you use the bathroom, the muscles in your bladder push the urine out through a tube called the urethra.
You get bladder cancer when bladder cells become abnormal and grow out of control. Over time, a tumor forms. It can spread to nearby lymph nodes and other organs. In severe cases, it can spread to distant parts of your body, including your bones, lungs, or liver. As with all cancers, early detection is key.
The Physical Exam
Your exam may include a pelvic exam (for women) or a digital rectal exam (DRE). In this procedure, your doctor will put on a glove and insert one finger into your rectum. This will allow him to feel a tumor in your bladder. It’ll also give him an idea of how big it is or whether it has spread.
If Dr. Bankhead finds something that’s not normal, he’ll order lab tests. Dr. Bankhead may include the following tests to get a better idea of what’s going on:
Dr. Bankhead may run a series of urine tests to look for a variety of markers, such as irregular cells, cancer cells, microscopic blood cells or tumor markers.
Dr. Bankhead may also place a cystoscope through the opening of your urethra — the duct that you pee through — and into your bladder.
The cytoscope is a thin tube with a light and video camera on the end. Your doctor will inject salt water through the tube and into your bladder. This will allow him to see the inner lining of your bladder with the camera.
He may give you medicine to numb your urethra and bladder. If the procedure is done in the operating room, you’ll be given anesthesia so you won’t be awake.
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