Good Practices for Men
- Know your risk level
- Know your numbers
- Follow your numbers
- Watch out for the “SPIKE”**
- Early Diagnosis can mean more options for treatment
- Early Treatment can lead to a Cure
- Prostate Cancer is not only an old man’s disease
- Get tested
- Get over the stigma
- Get support
- Not every prostate issue is cancer
- Listen to your body
Important Terms & Definitions*
Prostate cancer is a malignant tumour that starts in cells of the prostate. Malignant means that it can spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men. It usually grows slowly and can often be completely removed or managed successfully.
The prostate is part of a man’s reproductive system. It is a walnut-sized gland just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds part of the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine and semen through the penis. The prostate makes part a liquid called seminal fluid, which mixes with sperm from the testicles to make semen. Semen is released from the penis during orgasm. Learn more.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test
A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the amount of PSA in the blood. PSA is a protein made by prostate cells. It is mostly found in semen, but small amounts of PSA can also be found in the blood of healthy men.
A PSA test is often used together with a digital rectal exam (DRE) digital rectal exam (DRE)A physical examination used to check for abnormalities of the rectum or prostate. to increase the chance of finding prostate cancer early when it is easier to treat. Using these tests together is better than using either test alone. Learn more.
Gleason classification for prostate cancer
The most common grading system for prostate cancer is the Gleason classification system. It is used to describe how aggressive a prostate cancer tumour is, and how likely it is to spread. The Gleason classification is used only for adenocarcinoma, the most common type of prostate cancer.
The Gleason classification reflects how different the tumour tissue is from normal prostate tissue. It uses a scale from 1 to 5. The doctor gives the cancer a number based on the patterns and growth of the cancer cells. The lower the number, the more normal the cancer cells look and the lower the grade. The higher the number, the less normal the cancer cells look and the higher the grade. Grades 1 and 2 are not commonly used because the tumour tissue looks and acts like normal tissue. Most prostate tumours are grade 3 or higher. Learn more.
Scarring occurs as part of the healing process after surgery. Scars are often visible for a long time after surgery or they are permanent. They usually fade over time.
For many types of cancer, surgeons can use less extreme, or less radical, types of surgery. This usually means that they make a smaller incision and there is less scarring. Newer techniques limit the damage to normal tissues, and reconstructive surgery helps reduce noticeable physical changes from surgery. Learn more.
A radical prostatectomy is the total removal of the prostate and the surrounding tissues. It is done as a potential cure for prostate cancer. Radical prostatectomy may be an option for men:
- who have early stage cancer that has not spread outside the prostate (stage I or II)
- with local spread of cancer outside the prostate (stage III)
- expected to live at least another 10 years
- younger than 75 years of age, but this depends on the individual man
- healthy enough to undergo anesthesia and surgery
In Brachytherapy, a radioactive substance (radioactive isotope) is placed directly into, or very close to, the tumour (called an implant). The radioactive substance can also be placed in the area where the tumour was removed. Brachytherapy is also called internal radiation therapy, short-distance radiation therapy, implant therapy or sealed radiation therapy. Learn more.
Alpha-blockers are drugs that relax the muscles near the prostate, which relieves pressure on the urethra and allows urine to flow more easily. They don’t shrink the prostate. Alpha-blockers usually start working within a week. The most common alpha-blockers used for BPH are… Learn more.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is enlargement of the prostate gland due to an increased number of cells (hyperplasia). Most of the growth occurs in the transition zone of the prostate. The prostate naturally gets larger as men age. Almost all men by the age of 70 will have some prostate enlargement. BPH does not increase the risk of prostate cancer. Learn more.
*(Canadian Cancer Society)