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Prostate Cancer Causes & Treatments

Prostate Cancer Causes & Treatments

Every year there are over 164,000 men in the United States who are diagnosed with prostate cancer. There is no exact way to know how or when this disease might develop, but there are some risk factors that can lead to the development of prostate cancer. Taking the time to learn about and understand some of the causes and risk factors of developing prostate cancer is an excellent way to help lower your chances of developing the disease by simply making some lifestyle changes.

Causes of Prostate Cancer

The exact cause of prostate cancer is not known, but the risk of getting the disease increases as a person ages. Men who have a family history of prostate cancer are at a higher risk of developing the disease. Some of the common risk factors for developing prostate cancer include:


Studies have shown that African American men are about seventy percent more likely to develop the disease than Hispanic and Caucasian men.


Men who have an immediate blood relative such as a brother or father who develops prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer. Men who have any family member that is diagnosed with prostate cancer have a higher risk of getting it as well.


As mentioned, the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. Very few men under the age of 40 develop the disease. However, approximately one out of every 15 men over the age of 60 develop prostate cancer. If you are over the age of 60, it is a good idea to make sure that you are going in for your regular prostate exams.

Other Factors

Lifestyle factors such as a diet that is high in saturated fat will increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Men who are using testosterone therapy are also at a higher risk of developing the disease. Conditions such as prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia and genome changes are also associated with a higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Treatments for Prostate Cancer

There are several treatment options available for men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Approximately nine out of ten men who are diagnosed with this type of cancer will only have the disease in this particular area. This means that cancer does not spread to the other parts of the body. Since this type of cancer grows very slowly, active surveillance is often used. This involves an oncologist providing close monitoring of the disease and holding off treatment until a later time.


Another treatment option for prostate cancer is chemotherapy. There are many side-effects associated with this treatment, including nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, and hair loss. Before receiving chemotherapy for prostate cancer, patients are often given medications that will help make the symptoms more tolerable.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy is a technique that is often used for the treatment of prostate cancer. This type of therapy will deprive the cancer cells of what they need to grow. Hormone therapy is commonly used as a way to shrink tumors so they can then be treated with radiation. It is common for a combination of drugs to be used to lower hormone levels. Hormones such as testosterone often will fuel the disease. Lowering these levels can help slow down the growth of cancerous cells.


This type of therapy is rather new when it comes to the treatment of prostate cancer. Immunotherapy involves using immune-based strategies to kill a tumor and to prevent it from returning. This type of therapy may be used by itself or in combination with other treatments such as hormone therapy and radiation.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy has come a long way over the past several years. Oncologists can now target the harder to reach tumors that are located in the prostate. Also, higher doses of radiation can be directly targeted to prostate cancer cells. This helps to reduce radiation exposure to normal and healthy tissue in the body. There are two common types of radiation that are most often used for prostate cancer. ERBT will deliver a high dose of radiation to prostate cancer cells from outside of the body using a machine-based technology. Internal radiation will provide a high dose of radiation to the tumors using implants that are placed near or inside of the tumors.


For relatively healthy men, surgical treatments might be an option. The operation is designed to remove the cancerous tumors through open surgery. In some cases, the entire prostate may be excluded. This is called a radical prostatectomy. Robotic equipment allows this type of surgery to be completed with little invasion.

There are several advantages to having surgery to remove the prostate. First, a patient that only has localized cancer will likely need no other treatment after surgery. A biopsy will provide accurate staging, and the post-surgical PSA levels will accurately predict the likely recurrence of cancer. There are fewer side-effects associated with surgery when compared to chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

There are some risks associated with surgery, as well. Also, a chance that a person may have side-effects from the general anesthesia. After surgery, a catheter will need to be placed and used for at least a week or two. There are also some risks to sexual behaviors such as painful orgasms, dry orgasms, and a shortened penis.

Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Very rarely will prostate cancer metastasize. As mentioned, it rarely will spread to any other areas of the body. However, if the disease does metastasize, it can spread to the bones, brain, liver, and lungs. Cancer cells might also be found in lymph nodes throughout the body. The treatment for metastatic prostate cancer is the same. Chemotherapy is often recommended. The type of treatment that is available will depend on where the tumor is located. Usually, these treatments are provided as a way to improve the overall quality of life.