Shining a Light on Prostate Cancer: Let's Talk About Awareness

Shining a Light on Prostate Cancer: Let's Talk About Awareness

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting men worldwide. Despite its prevalence, awareness about this disease remains shockingly low. September being Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, TBô made the decision to actively create awareness around this disease. 

Prostate Cancer Color Ribbon

The prostate cancer awareness ribbon color is a light blue ribbon. The light blue ribbon is used as a symbol of prostate cancer awareness. It represents support for individuals affected by prostate cancer and serves as a way to raise awareness about the disease. The light blue color is associated with prostate cancer awareness campaigns, events, and initiatives aimed at promoting early detection, research, education, and support for those living with prostate cancer. Wearing or displaying a light blue ribbon signifies your commitment to these causes and your solidarity with those impacted by prostate cancer. It's an important symbol in advocating for improved prostate cancer care and prevention. 

Prostate Cancer Color Ribbon

Understanding Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland located just below the bladder in men. It plays a crucial role in the male reproductive system by producing semen. While it's a vital part of a man's anatomy, it is also susceptible to cancer. Prostate cancer occurs when the cells in the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably.

Prostate cancer is a complex disease, and its severity is often determined by its stage and grade. Staging and grading help doctors assess the extent of the cancer and how aggressive it is. This information is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment plan. Let's delve into prostate cancer stages and grades. 

Firstly, it is important to note that stages and grades are two different classifications. The cancer stage tells us how big the tumor is and whether it has moved away from where it started. On the other hand, the grade tells us how the cancer cells look under a microscope.

Prostate Cancer Stages:

Prostate cancer is typically staged using the TNM system, which stands for Tumor, Nodes, and Metastasis. This system helps categorize the extent of the cancer within the prostate gland and whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body. A very basic summary of what each stage means. 

Stage 0: At this point, we see unusual cells, but they haven't moved to nearby areas yet. Sometimes it's called carcinoma in situ (CIS). While CIS isn't cancer, it could turn into cancer over time.

Stages I, II, and III (or 1, 2, and 3): Cancer is confirmed to be present. The higher the number, the bigger the tumor and the farther it has reached into nearby tissues.

Stage IV (or 4): Here, cancer has spread to distant parts of the body.

Prostate Cancer Grades:

Prostate cancer grading is typically done using the Gleason score, named after Dr. Donald Gleason, who developed it. The Gleason score is determined by examining the prostate tissue under a microscope. The pathologist assigns two grades to the cancer cells: the primary grade (the most common pattern) and the secondary grade (the second most common pattern). The two grades are added together to create the Gleason score, which ranges from 6 to 10, with 10 being the most aggressive.

Gleason Score 6 (Grade Group 1): These cancers are considered low-grade or well-differentiated. They often grow slowly and are less likely to spread beyond the prostate.

Gleason Score 7 (Grade Group 2 or 3): These cancers are considered intermediate-grade. Grade Group 2 includes Gleason scores of 3+4, while Grade Group 3 includes Gleason scores of 4+3. They have a moderate risk of progression.

Gleason Score 8 to 10 (Grade Group 4 or 5): These cancers are high-grade and poorly differentiated. They are more aggressive and have a higher risk of spreading beyond the prostate.

It's important to note that the combination of the stage and grade provides a more comprehensive picture of the cancer's aggressiveness and prognosis. Patients with lower-stage, lower-grade prostate cancer typically have a more favorable outlook and may choose active surveillance or less aggressive treatment options, whereas those with higher-stage, higher-grade cancers may require more aggressive treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy.

Every prostate cancer case is unique, and treatment decisions should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider, taking into account the individual's overall health, preferences, and the specific characteristics of their cancer. Regular screenings and early detection can significantly improve the chances of catching prostate cancer in its earlier stages when it's more treatable.

Prostate Cancer Statistics

Prostate cancer is a significant health concern. Here are some statistics that highlight its prevalence:

Prevalence of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men globally, following only lung cancer. In the United States alone, around one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. 

The American Cancer Society reported around 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer in 2023 alone. Furthermore, 34,700 men have died as a result of prostate cancer in 2023. 

Age-related Risk

Age-related risk increases with age, with the majority (about 6 out of 10) of cases occurring in men over 65. However, in the last decade, the prevalence of early-onset prostate cancer has been rising. 

A shocking statistic shows that the survival rate decreases significantly when individuals are diagnosed at a younger age which makes screening at every age vital as soon as any warning signs are experienced.

The overall 5-year relative survival rate in the United States for men diagnosed by age: 

  • 95% - 100% for those aged between 40 and 80 years
  • 80% in those aged 25 to 34 years
  • 50% in those aged 20 to 29 years 
  • 30% in those aged 15 to 24 years

It is important to note that survival rates are based on all available historical data. The survival rate depends on a myriad of factors including, but not limited to, age of onset, stage, grade, treatment options etc. Medicine and treatment are evolving all the time which is important to keep in mind whenever looking at historical data. 

Ethnic Disparities 

Ethnic disparities in prostate cancer are evident, with African-American men facing a higher risk of developing the disease compared to other ethnic groups. They are also more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, emphasizing the need for targeted awareness campaigns and equitable access to healthcare resources.

Black men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with—and 2.1 times more likely to die from—prostate cancer than white men. Black men are also slightly more likely than white men to be diagnosed with advanced disease.

Prostate Cancer 20-Year Survival Rate

The survival rate for Prostate Cancer depends on many factors. However, the average survival rate is between 95% - 100%.

According to a study published by
The Journal of Urology,  among all men, the rates of surviving prostate cancer without any signs of the disease can be grouped as follows: 

  • After 10 years 75%.
  • After 15, 20, and, 25 years 73%..

It is important to note that 20% - 30% of men will have relapse/recurrence of prostate cancer. This is usually seen after the 5-year mark after initial therapy. 

Prostate Cancer Facts and Statistics 2023

Importance of Prostate Cancer Awareness

Raising awareness encourages regular screenings, allowing for early detection and improved outcomes.

Prostate Cancer Early Signs

Prostate cancer, when detected early, is highly treatable. There are a few prostate cancer early warning signs to look out for.  Raising awareness encourages regular screenings, allowing for early detection and improved outcomes. Some of the early signs of prostate cancer are as follows:

  • Frequent urination
  • Weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain to empty the bladder
  • The urge to urinate frequently at night
  • Blood in the urine
  • New onset of erectile dysfunction
  • Pain or burning during urination, which is much less common
  • Discomfort or pain when sitting, caused by an enlarged prostate

If cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland, symptoms and signs may include:

  • Pain in the back, hips, thighs, shoulders, or other bones
  • Swelling or fluid buildup in the legs or feet
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Change in bowel habits

Reducing Stigma

Men often find it challenging to discuss issues related to their penis or prostate due to societal taboos and a fear of vulnerability. This reluctance can be a barrier to early detection and treatment of conditions like prostate cancer. Prostate cancer awareness plays a crucial role in breaking down these barriers by normalizing conversations about men's health. It encourages open dialogue, reduces stigma, and empowers men to seek timely medical attention. By fostering a culture where men feel comfortable addressing such concerns, prostate cancer awareness not only saves lives but also promotes overall well-being and encourages a proactive approach to men's health issues.

Support and Education

Increased awareness about prostate cancer has far-reaching benefits that extend beyond early detection. This heightened awareness fosters a compassionate and informed community, resulting in greater support for individuals and families grappling with the challenges of prostate cancer. Empathy and understanding replace misconceptions and stereotypes, creating a nurturing environment where emotional, psychological, and practical needs are met. Furthermore, the promotion of education regarding prostate cancer risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options empowers both patients and their loved ones to make well-informed decisions. This comprehensive approach not only improves the quality of care but also enhances the overall well-being of those affected by prostate cancer, emphasizing the importance of awareness as a catalyst for positive change.

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

Prostate cancer risk factors are variables or conditions that can increase a person's likelihood of developing prostate cancer. While some risk factors are beyond one's control, others are associated with lifestyle choices. Here are some key risk factors:

  • Age: Prostate cancer risk increases significantly with age, with the majority of cases occurring in men over 65.
  • Family History: A family history of prostate cancer, especially in a father or brother, can raise the risk.
  • Ethnicity: African American men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than men of other ethnic backgrounds. Asian and Hispanic men have a lower risk.
  • Genetics: Certain genetic mutations and family syndromes can increase susceptibility.
  • Diet: A diet high in red meat and low in fruits and vegetables may be linked to an elevated risk.
  • Obesity: Obesity is associated with a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
  • Physical Activity: A sedentary lifestyle may contribute to an increased risk.
  • Chemical Exposures: Exposure to certain chemicals, such as Agent Orange, has been associated with a higher risk.
  • Inflammation of the Prostate: Chronic inflammation or prostatitis may increase the risk.
  • Sex Hormones: High levels of certain hormones, particularly testosterone, may be linked to an increased risk.

It's essential to remember that having one or more of these risk factors does not guarantee the development of prostate cancer. Likewise, individuals without these risk factors can still develop the disease. Regular screenings and discussions with a healthcare provider are crucial for early detection and management of prostate cancer, especially for those with risk factors.

Prostate Cancer Support Groups and Education

The United States is home to numerous support groups and organizations dedicated to prostate cancer awareness, education, support, and research. Here are some prominent ones:

American Cancer Society (ACS):

Website: www.cancer.org

The ACS offers extensive resources, information, and support for prostate cancer patients and their families. They provide educational materials, support, and guidance on treatment options.

Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF):

Website: www.pcf.org

PCF is a leading organization in funding research for prostate cancer. They provide information, support, and advocate for improved prostate cancer care and awareness.

Zero Prostate Cancer

Website: https://zerocancer.org/ 

Zero Prostate Cancer offers support groups, educational materials, and advocacy efforts for prostate cancer patients and their families. They have centers and support groups throughout the United States.

CancerCare:

Website: www.cancercare.org

CancerCare offers free professional counseling, support groups, and educational resources for cancer patients and their families, including those dealing with prostate cancer.

Movember Foundation:

Website: us.movember.com

Movember focuses on men's health issues, including prostate cancer. They run awareness campaigns and fund research programs to improve outcomes for prostate cancer patients.

These organizations play a crucial role in raising awareness, providing support, and advancing research efforts in the fight against prostate cancer in the United States. Whether you're a patient, caregiver, or simply interested in learning more, these resources can be invaluable.

Prostate cancer awareness is crucial for reducing the impact of this disease on men and their families. By understanding the risk factors, encouraging early detection, and supporting those affected, we can make significant strides in the fight against prostate cancer. This Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, let's commit to spreading knowledge, offering support, and advocating for a world where prostate cancer is detected early and treated effectively. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of countless men and their loved ones.

**Disclaimer: This article was written for prostate cancer awareness. This article should not be used as a guideline or advice regarding prostate cancer diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional if you are concerned about your health.

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3 comments

While urinating feels more to urinate. Kindly suggest

Roshan

Dear sir/mam, I am a prostate BPH patient for more than five years .I went to hospital and not getting improve,is there any solution like home made recipe for prostate BPH.can you share me recipe please you are a God for me .

Rinzin

Due to a family history of the disease (my father and all of my uncles were diagnosed with it) I started getting PSA tests at age 50. By the time I reached 58, my numbers see-sawed back and forth until I received my diagnosis at 62. After radiation treatments and brachyatherapy I was declared cancer free. My PSA levels have been in the undetectable range for the last 5 years. It is extremely important to get regular testing if you are in a high risk group. Even if you’re not all men should be tested at around 55 years of age. Although it is a very treatable cancer, most succumb because they are afraid of testing. It is however a simple blood test. Only if the results of the blood test warrant it, will you be subjected to the dreaded digital examination. And however much you may dread that kind of examination, it’s better than having to be visited at a cemetery while resting on the other side of the turf!

Richard Lee

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