Questions and Answers
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bottom of this page. Each month we will print selected questions
and give you our answers.
Q What are the
signs and symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
In the early stages, it usually does not cause any symptoms. It
does not even cause pain. When symptoms do occur, the cancer is
usually advanced. Symptoms are: frequent urination, difficulty
starting urination, weak or interrupted flow of urine or burning
upon urination, blood in the urine or semen and frequent pain or
stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.
How many men per year get Prostate Cancer and how many men will
die from it in the United States?
Last year 234,460 men were diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and
27,350 died from the disease according to the American Cancer
Society. There is no way of telling how many men have Prostate
Cancer and are unaware they have it.
I understand that Prostate Cancer is divided into “stages”. What
are they and what does it mean to have each of these stages of the
Once Prostate Cancer is found, a test can be performed that will
tell whether the cancer cells have spread from the prostate to
nearby tissues or to other parts of the body. The process of
figuring out how far the cancer has spread is called “staging”.
No symptoms and the cancer is less than 5% of the prostate.
Stage 2) Cancer is only in the
prostate and more than 5% of the prostate.
Stage 3) Cancer has spread to
the covering “capsule” of the prostate or the nearby glands that
produce semen, the seminal vesicles.
Stage 4) Cancer has spread to
the lymph nodes or other parts of the body like the liver, lungs
and even the bone.
What is a Gleason Score and what does it mean?
In the United States and many other countries, after the
pathologist examines the prostate tissue he grades it either very
well differentiated which is a grade 1, to very poorly
differentiated which is a grade 5. The lower the number, the
better and less aggressive the cancer. The primary or the most
common pattern is given a grade, than a secondary or second most
common pattern is given a grade. There may often be only a single
pure grade. So the lowest Gleason number would be 1+1=2. And the
highest Gleason number would be 5+5=10. With a number like 2 most
likely the cancer is not aggressive and would stay in the
prostate. The number 10 means the cancer is very aggressive and
could already be outside of the prostate in other parts of the
Do African-Americans have more of a prostate cancer risk than
African-Americans have 60% more of a chance of developing Prostate
Cancer than Caucasians. They also are more likely to have a family
history of Prostate Cancer in men and Breast Cancer in women. A
brother of a prostate cancer victim has five times more of a
chance of also getting Prostate Cancer than a family who doesn’t.
Collecting a family history of prostate and breast cancer,
especially among siblings, could be a key component of assessing
prostate cancer risk among African-American men.
Is ejaculation good for prostate health?
Yes, the prostate has innumerable tiny glands located in its
periphery. Their function is to drain prostate secretion through
the tiny prostatic ducts into the urethra. Ninety percent of the
fluid that comes out with ejaculation is prostatic fluid. With
long periods of abstinence from ejaculation, the prostate may
become filled with secretions. This condition is called congestion
of the prostate.