Biomedical Engineering Blog

Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

Previous in Blog: Fixing a Broken Heart - Part 2   Next in Blog: How Doctors View Tumors in 3D
Close
Close
Close
7 comments

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Posted September 12, 2007 7:57 AM by shanlax

Prostate cancer strikes 1 in 6 American men, mainly affecting males over the age of 65. The risk is lower for men under age 40 (1/10,000), but for those between 40 and 59, the risk grows to 1/39 and increases as a man ages. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), there have been 218,890 new cases and 27,050 deaths from prostate cancer in 2007.

So what is prostate cancer? In simple terms, it is a slow-growing malignancy which occurs in the tissue of a walnut-sized reproductive gland called the prostate. As you may remember from biology class, the prostate is located under the bladder in front of the rectum.

Age is correlated to the incidence of prostate cancer, but does not represent the only risk factor. Family history also plays an important role. According to a 2004 study from the University of Michigan, the brothers of a man diagnosed with prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease. Other risk factors include race and genetics, diet and lifestyle, and environmental factors such as exposure to agricultural pesticides. For more information, visit the NCI's website.

Like other health conditions, prostate cancer may present various symptoms. According to the NCI, these include the following:

  • Frequent urination (especially at night)
  • Inability to urinate
  • Trouble starting or holding back urination
  • A weak interrupted flow of urine
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Frequent pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

A doctor's appointment may be unpleasant, but don't wait to be tested until symptoms occur! Often, the symptoms of prostate cancer do not present themselves until the disease is in its later stages and the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. There are also non-cancerous conditions that cause these problems.

Screening for prostate cancer typically occurs in a doctor's office and includes a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. PSA is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland. Elevated PSA levels in a patient's blood may indicate prostate cancer; however, there are also non-cancerous conditions that can cause a rise in PSA levels. Many doctors advise all men over the age of 50 to have a yearly screening, and men who are at a higher risk for prostate cancer to begin annual screenings at age 40 or 45.

So is prostate cancer preventable? Research has shown that diet modification may help to lower your chances of prostate cancer, or help to slow the progression of the disease. Increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet is a good idea. As researchers study the causes of prostate cancer and develop new cures for this treatable disease, stay on top of your screenings and live a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Resources

https://www.prostatecancerfoundation.org/

https://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Near Rochester, New York
Posts: 157
Good Answers: 2
#1

Re: September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

09/12/2007 9:44 AM

shanlax:

Excellent writeup, but I do have to take exception to one statement. PC is not always "slow-growing". I'm in my 9th year of dealing with mine and, in that time, its doubling time has progressed from 4.5 months to 3 weeks to 10 days. Not exactly the common 4 year doubling time. I also find that the doctors I've worked with don't have a mathematician's (or patient's) "feel" for what a short doubling time means. They don't understand why I'm in a hurry to make my next move. That "slow-growing"reputation has created a major hurdle for me.

Thank you for the writeup. I suspect that many CR4 participants may benefit from it.

DickL

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#2
In reply to #1

Re: September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

09/12/2007 4:08 PM

DickL, you hit on a real sore spot among those who know about PCa. Definitely, it is NOT always slow growing. In fact, some of the experts in prostate cancer are suggesting that there are probably at least 50 different varieties of PCa cells -- one, Dr. Coffee, reported that he identified four (4) distinct PCa cells in one biopsy slide.

Another disservice the article does is to continue the notion that PCa is an old man's disease. I've known 3 different men in their 30s who were diagnosed and treated (all with family history), and 2 of those died within 2 years. And their PSAs were in the 2 ng/ml range. Add to your observation about fast growing that PCa in younger men is very often of the more aggressive (fast growing) variety.

So, we have Not an old man's disease (25% of PCa is diagnosed in men under 65), and it is NOT slow growing in all cases, and, finally, that men can die of PCa with a PSA that never gets up to the supposed "threshhold" of 4.0 ng/ml.

RickWard ricklward@pcaawareness.net

Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Near Rochester, New York
Posts: 157
Good Answers: 2
#3
In reply to #2

Re: September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

09/12/2007 4:41 PM

Rick:

That is one of many "sore spots" in the world of prostate cancer. It's a virtual minefield of them. Unfortunately, to discover them, you have to learn the jargon and go to published, peer reviewed research papers (NOT ADS) and, in some cases, do your own data analysis. I started the process many years ago and I'm still learning. I started getting advice that didn't sound right on the day I was diagnosed and it never stopped. So far, my instincts have held up pretty well.

I'll never understand the guys who "shut down" upon learning of their cancer and leave the learning process to their wives and families. Actually, it's quite an interesting technical problem and, as you say, not just for old guys (although, in my case, that holds true).

DickL

Reply
Active Contributor
Popular Science - Genetics - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member

Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 23
#4
In reply to #3

Re: September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

09/13/2007 9:38 AM

I have a question I was hoping some of you could shed some light on. I have hasd BPH since my early 30's, does anyone know if this is a precursor to cancer? Does this increase the likliehood of contracting PCa? I have had my PSA monitored since the discovery of my condition and have been on medication ever since. What additional symptoms should I be looking for that may indicate a change to cancer? I do have a family history of PCa. My Uncle died of it in his 50's. Any one know where I could go to get more help on this?

Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Near Rochester, New York
Posts: 157
Good Answers: 2
#5
In reply to #4

Re: September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

09/13/2007 11:13 AM

Hi Mike:

I don't know about the BPH as a precursor. I've never seen any data, but having an uncle who's had it is a definite warning. The only ways to monitor that I know of are PSA and DREs (Digital Rectal Exams). The next step would be a biopsy and that's a little extreme if the PSA and DRE are normal. It sounds as though you are doing the right things, including being aware of the possibility of cancer. I was not aware and my PSA was 23.2 by the time I was diagnosed. That's not a very good start. Good Luck.

DickL

Reply
Active Contributor
Popular Science - Genetics - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member

Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 23
#6
In reply to #5

Re: September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

09/13/2007 11:40 AM

Thanks and good luck to you

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#7
In reply to #6

Re: September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

09/18/2007 9:21 PM

Moose,

Thank you for the article and the focus on Prostate Cancer.... As a survivor for some seven years, I have noticed a need for men to become more active advocates both publicly and politically. If this would occur, more men would be more likely to go to the doctors when some of the symptom present themselves. Also, money for research from governmental sources would increase its flow in the area of education and research.

In our community we have organized a week of activities to focus on the disease and as a result we have seen some positive changes in our community.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 7 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Anonymous Poster (2); DickL (3); Mikes828 (2)

Previous in Blog: Fixing a Broken Heart - Part 2   Next in Blog: How Doctors View Tumors in 3D
You might be interested in: Cupolas, Roofing Materials, Electrical Power Sensors

Advertisement