Saturday, February 5, 2011

How does age affect prostate cancer risk?

I saw quite a few comments posted relating to age so i thought i might do this as a topic this evening!

Prostate cancer risk is determined largely by age. As men age past 40, their chance of developing prostate cancer increases exponentially each year. Some doctors believe that all men, given the proper amount of time, will eventually develop prostate cancer, but that many die of other causes, such as disease, accidents, or natural causes, before developing the disease. Prostate cancer is so rare in young men that there are no statistics available for the disease incidence in men under 35.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
As men pass the age of 40, the prostate gland begins to enlarge. This enlargement is generally benign and may cause slight elevations in the prostate-specific antigen level. An overgrowth of prostatic tissue which is not malignant is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia and does not require treatment unless difficulty in urination is adversely affecting a man’s everyday life.
Why Does Age Affect Prostate Cancer Risk?
If the prostate gland is growing, the prostatic cells are multiplying. No one is sure of the exact cause of any cancer, however, the increased age and the new growth of prostate gland make this tissue susceptible to malignancies or abnormalities.
Prostate Cancer Testing
Prostate cancer is the growth of a malignant tumor capable of metastasizing and spreading to other areas of the body such as the lymphatic system or the bones. Without yearly prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests and DRE examinations, early prostate cancer is very difficult to detect. Difficulty in urination or ejaculation, which may be associated with later stages of prostate cancer may simply be attributed to the process of aging.
All men should begin yearly PSA testing by the age of 50. Men who have other risk factors, such as family history, present are encouraged to begin PSA testing at age 50. Men who have a family or racial predisposition for prostate should begin yearly diagnostic testing at age 40. Early detection is key. As prostate cancer treatments are evolving, the ability to ablate the malignant tissue and retain sexual potency as well as urinary continence is increasing. However, the success of these treatments is strongly correlated to the prostate cancer stage in which treatment begins.
Age as a Determining Factor in Prostate Cancer Treatment
Most cases of prostatic adenocarcinoma, the most common type of prostate cancer, grow extremely slowly. Young men who develop prostate cancer and catch the disease in an early stage may consider the prostate cancer treatment watchful waiting in which the tumor is carefully monitored every 3 to 6 months for changes in the rate of growth. Treatment is postponed until the tumor begins growing larger or more aggressively. Older men may also consider watchful waiting as salvage therapy if their primary treatment fails. Men who are older or who are in poor health may considered postponing treatment if the recurring is not growing or spreading aggressively.