Malignant tumours form when abnormal cells in the prostate gland grow uncontrollably, resulting in prostate cancer. This type of cancer is highly prevalent in Australia, with an estimated 24,200 males diagnosed in 2022 alone.
Typically, the average age at diagnosis is around 69 years old, and it is estimated that one in six males will develop prostate cancer by the time they reach 85 years of age.
In the early stages, prostate cancer is considered localised, meaning that the cancer cells have grown but have not yet spread beyond the prostate. However, it can advance to two stages as cancer progresses: locally advanced and metastatic.
Locally advanced prostate cancer refers to cancer that has spread outside of the prostate and into nearby parts of the body or glands close to the prostate.
Metastatic prostate cancer is the most advanced stage. In addition, the cancer has spread to distant body parts, making it much harder to treat.
It is crucial for men to be aware of the symptoms of prostate cancer and to undergo regular screenings, particularly as they age. Early detection can increase the chances of successful prostate cancer treatment in Sydeney and improve overall outcomes.
Table of Content:
- Risk Factors For Prostate Cancer
- What Are The Standard Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer?
- Diagnosing Prostate Cancer in Sydney
- Prostate-Specific Antigen Blood Test
- Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
- Which Are The Best Prostate Cancer Treatment In Sydney?
- Active Monitoring Of The Condition
- Surgical Options For Prostate Cancer Treatment In Australia
- Final Words
Risk Factors For Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is a disease that affects many men, and there are several risk factors to consider. These include age, with the risk increasing after age 50, and a family history of prostate, breast, or ovarian cancer, especially if there is a history of BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.
Additionally, suppose a father or brother has been diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 60. In that case, there may be an increased risk.
There is also a possible association between high testosterone levels and prostate cancer. To fully understand this relationship, more research is needed. However, it’s essential to be aware of these risk factors and to discuss any concerns with a healthcare provider.
What Are The Standard Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer?
Here are the five symptoms of advanced prostate cancer that you should never ignore
- Frequent or sudden urge to urinate.
- Difficulty urinating, such as trouble starting or poor urine flow.
- Discomfort during urination.
- Blood in urine or semen.
- Pain in the lower back, upper thighs, or hips.
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer in Sydney
Prostate cancer is usually diagnosed through routine PSA screening or an abnormal rectal exam. A definitive diagnosis requires a biopsy to examine prostate tissue for cancer cells. Early detection is crucial for successful treatment.
Let’s explore these prostate cancer treatment options in detail:
Prostate-Specific Antigen Blood Test:
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is commonly used to detect prostate cancer. However, PSA levels can vary, so doctors may use results from multiple tests over time to assess risk.
However, some men with prostate cancer have normal PSA levels, and not all elevated PSA levels indicate cancer.
Therefore, doctors use PSA testing alongside other diagnostic methods to confirm prostate cancer. However, the PSA test can be confusing, so discussing the results and concerns with a specialist is essential.
Digital Rectal Examination (DRE):
While Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) is no longer recommended as a routine screening test for men without prostate cancer symptoms, it may still be used as a diagnostic tool. This is because not all prostate cancers produce high levels of PSA. DRE can help check the prostate for abnormalities before proceeding with a biopsy.
Suppose you have concerns about prostate cancer or experience any related symptoms. In that case, speaking with a healthcare provider about diagnostic options is essential. Their advice will be based on your health history and needs.
A biopsy is a crucial step in diagnosing prostate cancer. During this procedure, small tissue samples are taken from various parts of the prostate with a rectal ultrasound or MRI guidance.
Using the Gleason score, these samples are then examined to determine the cancer’s aggressiveness. The score is formed by adding the grade of the two most common patterns of cancer cells, with a low score indicating a slower-growing disease. A diagnostic MRI scan is usually ordered before the biopsy to help guide the procedure and ensure the most accurate results.
Which Are The Best Prostate Cancer Treatment In Sydney?
Prostate cancer treatment options vary depending on the cancer’s aggressiveness and stage. For example, low-grade cancer may only require monitoring. In contrast, intermediate and high-grade cancer can be treated with surgery or radiation therapy. The choice between the two depends on individual patient characteristics and the particular pathology of the cancer.
Active Monitoring Of The Condition:
Active surveillance is a treatment option for low-grade, low-volume prostate cancers without aggressive treatment. It can help avoid the adverse side effects of treatments. However, regular monitoring is crucial to ensure the disease hasn’t progressed. Patient compliance is essential for safe management.
Surgical Options For Prostate Cancer Treatment In Australia
- Radical Prostatectomy: Radical prostatectomy is a surgery that removes the prostate, seminal vesicles, and some pelvic lymph nodes to cure locally confined prostate cancer. It has a high success rate, and nerve-sparing techniques allow for the preservation of erectile function.
Open surgery, laparoscopic or robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy are options for younger men with organ-confined disease. The approach that suits you will be discussed at your pre-operative appointment.
- Brachytherapy: Brachytherapy can be an effective alternative to radical prostatectomy surgery or external beam radiation therapy for certain men with low-risk cancers. This includes men with a Gleason score ≤ 7, a PSA at ≤ 10 ng/mL diagnosis, and ≤ 50% positive biopsy cores.
- External Beam Radiation Therapy: This therapy is mainly recommended for patients with non-confined prostate cancer or those who cannot undergo surgery. A referral to a radiation oncology specialist will be organised to determine the best management.
- Androgen Deprivation Therapy for Biochemical Failure: No prostate cancer treatment guarantees 100% effectiveness, and there is always a chance of cancer recurring. The PSA level is closely monitored post-treatment to detect any signs of recurrence. If the PSA level rises, it indicates “biochemical failure,” Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is used to treat it.
- ADT blocks the production of male hormones, which contribute to prostate cancer growth, leading to a decrease in cancer growth rate. The patient may remain symptom-free for an extended period.
Prostate cancer is a complex disease, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, it is crucial to gather knowledge about the disease and available treatment options and to seek guidance from healthcare professionals.
Prostate cancer can be treated successfully, and early detection is vital. Therefore, it is essential to have regular check-ups and screenings, especially for those at higher risk. Remember, knowledge is power, and taking an active role in healthcare can lead to better outcomes and improved quality of life.