Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in US men. While skin cancer is the most common cancer in US men, prostate cancer is next. But it can be successfully treated.
Are you at risk?
- Age: Rare in men under 40, the risk rises materially after men reach 50. Over half of all cases are in men over age 65.
- Ethnicity: The demographic cohorts most likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer are Caribbeans of African ethnicity and African-Americans. Demographic cohorts least at risk are Hispanic/Latinos and Asian-Americans. The reason for these disparities is not known.
- Where you live: The prevalence of prostate cancer in northwestern Europe, Canada and the USA, Australia and the Caribbean is unexplained. But screening in developed nations is one possible explanation.
- Genetics: While some men with prostate cancer have no family history of the disease, those with a close relative with prostate cancer are twice as likely to be diagnosed with it. And men with a brother who has been diagnosed are more likely to be diagnosed than those whose father has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- Lifestyle factors: While research is not conclusive, poor diet and obesity have been shown to elevate the risk of prostate cancer. High fat diets which include a high red meat intake and a low intake of fruits and vegetables, represent a slightly higher risk. Some obese men have a higher risk of advanced prostate cancer but again, research is not conclusive.
Smoking has been identified as a risk factor for prostate cancer, with this factor representing a slightly higher risk of dying from the disease.
Santa Fe Prostrate Cancer Screening
Regular screening for prostate cancer is the most powerful weapon in the continuing war on prostate cancer. The level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood is the indicator for frequency of screening exams. If PSA is less than 2.5 nanograms per milliliter, screening should be done every 2 years. If the level is higher, screening should occur once a year.
PSA levels between 4 ng/mL represent a 1 in 4 chance that prostate cancer is present. Levels of 10 indicate a 50% chance.
Those who know they’re in a high-risk demographic should begin a testing regimen at 45. Other men should start regular screening at age 50.
Other detection tools
PSA testing is done in tandem with a digital rectal exam. A biopsy may be needed to determine the patient’s status if these two diagnostics are inconclusive.
Another detection tool used in prostate cancer diagnosis is the transrectal ultrasound (TRUS). This diagnostic deploys a probe the width of a finger, which is inserted into the rectum.
The probe uses sound waves which are relayed to a computer to render images. The test analyzes the status of the prostate gland and serves to inform therapeutic responses.
X-Ray Associates of New Mexico (Santa Fe)
XRANM has been serving patients in New Mexico for more than 65 years, offering them state-of-the-art diagnostic radiology and a comprehensive suite of supportive services.