Prostate cancer is one of the topics I devote a lot of time to when I see my patients, and it's something you should always be thinking about, too.
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the U.S. Approximately 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be approximately 220,800 new cases this year alone.
Prostate cancer is rare in younger men — the average age it shows up is 66.
Even though it's common, take heed: prostate cancer is treatable and curable. In fact, about 2.9 million men living today are survivors.
Prostate cancer happens when cells in the prostate become abnormal and start to grow and divide. These abnormal cells then form a tumor that grows and infiltrates the nearby tissue.
Although it's not clear exactly what causes prostate cancer, we do know it likely has something to do with hormones.
In fact, a study in the Korean Journal of Urology found that men with low levels of testosterone had a higher risk for prostate cancer than those in the higher testosterone group.
But testosterone, your primary sex hormone, isn't the only one to blame.
In fact, estrogen, which we think about as a female hormone only, is actually a growth-stimulating hormone in the prostate gland. And just like women, men can have what we call "estrogen dominance," which is seen in men over 50.
As men age, the level of estradiol, a type of estrogen, gradually rises while the levels of progesterone and testosterone decline. This decline is greater than the rise of estradiol.
So without enough progesterone, testosterone gets converted to dihydrotestosterone or DHT. What's more, estradiol prevents the hydroxylation of DHT. These two factors combined mean that there's a ton of DHT circulating, which in turn, stimulates the receptors in the prostate which may lead to prostate cancer.
There are several factors that can increase your chances of prostate cancer:
When prostate cancer develops early on, there may not be any signs. As it becomes more advanced, however, some symptoms that can show up include:
Early screening and evaluating your risk for prostate cancer is always a good idea, so always keep your doctor's appointments. If you have any of these symptoms, it's important to see your doctor who will
(Kristine Burke, M.D.) Great medical practice and team. Dr. Burke's personal attention to detail and explanation to my questions are greatly appreciated. I'm so grateful I found Dr. Burke. Her enthusiasm and knowledge is refreshing as we dig through years of health issues I could not find solutions or causes for. I found out many of my issues resulted from damaging prescrip...
(Kristine Burke, M.D.) I love this practice model! I've never felt better. Find the problem and fix it instead of treat the problem with drugs - brilliant!
(Kristine Burke, M.D.) I greatly appreciate the availability of the Dr.'s time and short waits for appointments. I think being rushed in and out serves little purpose. From the day I started going to Dr. Burke I expressed my expectations of my doctor, which are what we get now. I'm sure there is a lot I don't understand in terms of insurance coverage and laws in this state,...
(Kristine Burke, M.D.) I am pleased with the practice because you are an essential part of my health improvement plan, my health is improving, I like the extensive nature of healthcare, the practice continues to evolve in a positive direction, the amount of time spent with Dr. Burke is excellent, I don't feel rushed and all questions are answered, and the staff is helpful, ...
(Kristine Burke, M.D.) I like that I am not just treated for a specific symptom, but that my overall health is evaluated. I like that I can call and usually get an appointment for myself or my children within 24 hours, and sometimes the same day if crucial. The fact that my daughter gets free healthcare through her employer (Sutter Health) and sees Sutter providers but she ...
I feel sooo.....happy that I was introduced to True Health Center For Functional Medicine. All of the employees are present and much more involved in the individual's health. Thank You!