What is Prostate Cancer?
Cancers are named after the part of the body where they start. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate start to grow uncontrollably. In general, men with prostate cancer have several small tumours in the prostate.
In the early stages, when the cancer cells are only in the prostate, the disease is very curable (cure rates of 90% or better) with surgery or radiation. Unfortunately, during the early stages of prostate cancer there are few symptoms. In fact, many men in the early stages of prostate cancer have no symptoms at all. Without regular testing (PSA & DRE), it is very difficult to find early stage prostate cancer.
If untreated, prostate cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body and produce secondary tumours (metastases). At this point, the chances of a cure are much lower. Prostate cancer can spread to any part of the body but common areas for spread are bones and lymph nodes.
Good news and bad news
The good news is that in most cases, prostate tumours grow relatively slowly. It usually takes years for tumours to become large enough to be detectable and it takes even longer for them to spread out of the prostate.
The bad news is that a small number of men have aggressive prostate cancers that grow and spread quickly. At diagnosis, it is tough to know which category a man falls into and this can make treatment decisions hard.
Learn about prostate cancer facts.
Prostate Cancer Canada
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