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Health: What You Need to Know About Prostate Cancer | Culpeper Times — News

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With the exception of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the most deadly cancer found in men in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). About one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer for life.

Shiv Khandelwal, MD, an associate professor of UVA School of Medicine and a radiation oncologist at UVACancerCare, a division of the Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center, states that early detection is the key to overcoming prostate cancer. A conversation about prostate cancer and how to detect it early for better results.

Q: How can prostate cancer be identified early?

A: Prostate cells make a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). This is measured with a simple blood test. Monitoring PSA changes can provide important diagnostic information. Additional tests, such as a finger rectal exam and a prostate biopsy, are used in combination with PSA to diagnose early-stage prostate cancer.

Q: Why is it important for men to be diagnosed early?

A: Compared to advanced prostate cancer, the cure rate is higher, treatment is less intensive, there are fewer side effects, and the early period is shorter. Many low-aggressive prostate cancers can be managed with aggressive surveillance without treatment unless they progress during surveillance.

Q: What are the treatment options for men with prostate cancer?

A: Treatment options for patients with prostate cancer who need treatment include surgery to remove the prostate, temporary or permanent transplantation of the prostate with a radiation source called brachytherapy, and intensity-modulated radiation therapy with photons or protons. Includes, stereotactic radiation, and testosterone suppression. A combination of these different approaches is also used.

Each treatment approach has its strengths and weaknesses, and not all are suitable for all patients. The goal of treatment is to maximize benefits and minimize risk, and treatment is tailored to each patient’s situation. Many patients have multiple appropriate options, in which case educating the patient about those options and patient preferences plays a powerful role in choosing a treatment.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about prostate cancer?

A: A common misconception I hear is that prostate cancer grows slowly, and you will die from it, not because of it. Because many prostate cancers grow slowly, many prostate cancer patients can be closely monitored rather than treated, but many men die of advanced prostate cancer each year.

In 2021, ACS estimates that there will be approximately 250,000 new cases and 34,000 prostate cancer deaths in the United States. Prostate cancer mortality has previously declined, but has been stable since 2014. Many men who die instead of prostate cancer also have a preventable negative quality of life due to the spread of prostate cancer.

Q: Do patients feel uncomfortable talking about or being tested for prostate cancer?

A: definitely! Prostate cancer screening has received less attention than other types of cancer, and men may be embarrassed to talk about their prostate health. Prostate cancer itself and its treatments can lead to incontinence and impotence, which is a real concern. My recommendation is to talk to your doctor about your concerns and not avoid what you are afraid of. These discussions provide important information that allows you to make informed decisions about your health. Keep in mind that research has made progress in reducing these and other risks associated with treating prostate cancer.

Q: When does someone need to take the test?

A: The only consensus on screening is that men at high risk for prostate cancer need to be screened. The US Preventive Medicine Commission was talked about a few years ago by recommending opposition to screening, but has since withdrawn from this recommendation and now considers selective screening to be appropriate. Other organizations, such as ACS and the National Cancer Network, still recommend regular screening. Screening decisions are not easy, and I encourage patients to discuss it with their doctor. Personally, I chose to be screened, even though the risk was not high.

For more information on the cancer treatment services available with the Novant Health UVA Health System, please visit: NovantHealthUVA.org/cancer.

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