Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men after skin cancer. When diagnosed at an early stage, it can usually be treated successfully. In fact, almost 100 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer today will be alive in five years. Testing for prostate cancer is a personal decision best discussed between you and your doctor.
In many cases, prostate cancer stays confined to the prostate, and is so slow-growing that it might never pose a threat. However, some cases of prostate cancer can be aggressive and quickly spread to other organs or bones. Your treatment decisions will depend largely on what kind of prostate cancer you have. You can determine what kind of prostate cancer you have by knowing the stage and grade.
What should you do if you or a loved one has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer? First, take a moment to breathe. Then your priority is to find out as much as you can about your diagnosis and work with your doctor to make a plan. Visit our newly diagnosed section to receive some tools to help you do this.
Understanding Prostate Cancer
Cancer is a disease that begins in cells, which are the building blocks that make up all tissue and organs of the body, including the prostate. Normal cells grow, divide, and die on a regular schedule. Sometimes something goes wrong with this process and the cells don’t die as they should. Instead, they create a growth or tumor. Tumors can be benign, meaning not cancerous, or malignant, meaning cancerous.
Prostate cancer can spread from the prostate to other organs and the lymph system. When this happens the disease is called metastatic prostate cancer. If prostate cancer spreads, or metastasizes, to the bone, you have prostate cancer cells in the bone, not bone cancer.
Prostate cancer can only be diagnosed with a tissue sample, which is obtained through a biopsy. Once you have a diagnosis of prostate cancer, you can learn more about your disease state, including your Gleason Score or grade, which indicates aggressiveness, and Stage, which indicates location. This information will help you and your doctor work together to develop the best treatment plan for you.
Treatment options vary depending upon your prostate cancer stage and how aggressive the cancer cells are.
Ask your doctor: Is my prostate cancer a pussycat or a tiger?
- If your prostate cancer is a pussycat that means that there is a very low risk of the disease spreading beyond your prostate any time soon.
- If your prostate cancer is a tiger that means there is a very high risk of the disease being aggressive and spreading beyond your prostate.