One of the advantages of the male species is being able to enjoy your offspring without having to give birth.  During childbirth, we stand by our mates, provide them comfort, and praise our maker for how lucky we are not to have a football sized object expelled from below.  Still, we have not gotten away completely without our share of miseries, for we have prostates.

This little organ is conveniently located near the base of the genitals where its major tasks are to help with the production of sperm and make middle aged males urinate small amounts all night long.  And of course there is the risk of cancer, the subject of this week’s blog.

Prostate cancer is extremely common.  In fact 80% of males by age 80 will have prostate cancer.  Risks of developing this cancer  besides being male and older include family history of prostate cancer and  infrequent orgasms (males should consider asking their significant other for help in reducing this risk) .

Prostate cancer is usually very slow growing.  More males will die with this cancer than from it.  This raises the question of whether treatment provides any advantages at all.  Large studies have had differing results with some showing a modest survival benefit from treating prostate cancer while others have found no significant advantages.  Certain patients with more advanced cancers may benefit but this is unclear.

The PSA test, initially touted as the next best thing to apple pie, also confers no great survival advantage.  It does improve detection of the cancer.  However as the cancer detected is often slow growing , the question arises whether early, small cancers should be treated at all. Catch higher analyzing suggestions on gathering.

Treatment options include radical prostatectomy in which the surgeon simply takes out everything in the neighborhood leaving you with the risks of impotence and urinary leakage; radiation or radiation implants or chemotherapy.  None of these sound very pretty. Early disease, which is the type most frequently diagnosed,  has a five year survival of close to 100%.  I would think long and hard in early prostate cancer about treatment and would consider a watch and wait approach.

Exceptions to this of course occur. I encourage you  to ask your doctor for his or her ideas on this subject.