Movember / Men's Health Awareness Month
Prostate cancer stages & proton therapy | NHG
While it’s common knowledge that men aren’t into preening and inspecting themselves as much as women are, it’s extremely important for their overall health and wellbeing that they do the latter.
Keeping tabs on your health and the general state of your body means that you’re more likely to spot any health issues, such as prostate cancer, sooner rather than later.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the UK, with incidence rates projected to rise by 12 per cent in the UK between 2014 and 2035 (Cancer Research UK).
Do you know how prostate cancer develops? And, more importantly, do you know how it’s treated? Keep reading for these details.
The different stages of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is often slow-growing and symptoms may not show for many years. It tends to develop in the following stages:
- Stage 1 – it’s not usually possible to detect the cancer via imaging tests or a physical examination due to it being in the early stages of development. This means it hasn’t spread outside of the prostate.
- Stage 2 – again, it’s not possible to detect the cancer via a physical examination or imaging tests and it still hasn’t spread beyond the prostate. However, as the cells are that little bit more developed, they have a higher Gleason score (the system that’s used to grade prostate cancer) and therefore may grow more quickly.
- Stage 3 – the cancer has spread beyond the prostate and may spread to nearby seminal vesicles. This includes some Stage 4 prostate cancers that, while they have other advanced indicators, still haven’t moved to other organs.
- Stage 4 - this is the last stage of prostate cancer and is used to describe cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, bones, or bladder.
Treating prostate cancer
There are many different treatments for prostate cancer, including active surveillance, watchful waiting, prostate removal surgery, hormone therapy and proton therapy.
Proton therapy for prostate cancer is a radiation treatment that involves using a focused ray of proton particles to destroy cancerous tissues. It delivers precise, high doses of radiation to cancer cells, without damaging the healthy tissue around the prostrate.
While this treatment, also known as proton beam therapy, is a relatively new cancer treatment, it’s already making a big impact due to the advantages it offers over conventional therapy, such as:
- Reportedly more accurate than other kinds of radiation.
- Non-invasive and therefore painless.
- Full or higher doses of radiation can be used without damaging healthy tissues or organs.
- Treatment can be given in an outpatient setting.
- No recovery time is needed.
- Little or no impact on patients’ energy levels.
- Poses minimal risk of impotency.
This month (November), is Men’s Health Awareness Month, which has also increasingly been referred to as Movember in recent years. Since 2003, The Movember Foundation has raised more than £400 million and funded over 1,000 projects for causes, including prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
If you’re taking part in this year’s Movember campaign, we hope you grow a beard and/or moustache to be proud of. We also hope that you’re now more switched on about prostate cancer and spread the word about it among your friends, family and colleagues. It may be the most commonly diagnosed cancer among UK men, but what many people don’t realise is that, overall, survival rates are high because it develops at a much slower pace than other cancers.
For more information about prostate cancer, including the symptoms to look out for, check out Macmillan Cancer Support’s prostate cancer section on its website http://bit.ly/2i0Qpbm or visit Prostate Cancer UK.