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The 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Prostate Cancer

dlProstate problems will affect ninety percent of all men by the time the reach the age of eighty and in all too many cases the problem will be that of prostate cancer. But just what is the prostate gland and what does it mean to be diagnosed with prostate cancer? Here we look at the ten questions which are most often asked by men who encounter prostate problems.

1. What is the prostate gland and what does it do?

The prostate gland is situated between the bladder and the rectum, partly surrounding the urethra which carries urine from the bladder out of the body, and forms part of the male reproductive system, making and storing fluid which forms part of a man’s semen. The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut in an adult.

2. What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is a form of cancer which normally appears late in life and tends to be slow growing as a result of which many men, despite having prostate cancer, in fact die of other unrelated conditions. This said, prostate cancer is the second commonest form of cancer in the United States today and in 2006 some 235,000 men were diagnosed with the disease and approximately 27,000 men died from it.

3. Who is likely to contract prostate cancer?

Men in general are at risk of contracting prostate cancer although as it is an age related disease it tends to appear only from about middle-age onwards with the risk of contracting the disease increasing with age. Prostate cancer is more likely to appear in black men and where there is a family history of the disease.

4. What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

In the early stages of the disease there are normally few if any symptoms and it is possible to suffer from prostate cancer for many years without even knowing it. When symptoms do start to appear they are likely to include such things as difficulty in urinating, the need for frequent urination (especially at the night), a poor flow or urine which tends to stop and start, painful urination, blood in the urine or semen, pain when ejaculating and pain in the lower back, hips or upper part of the thighs.

5. Are there other conditions which can mask the presence of prostate cancer?

Many older men suffer from an enlarged prostate which places pressure on both the bladder and the urethra and interferes with the flow of urine and with sexual function, producing many of the same symptoms that are seen in prostate cancer. This condition is not however cancer but is a benign condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.

It is also quite common for the prostate gland to become infected and inflamed, again producing similar symptoms, and this also benign condition is known as prostatitis.

6. Is it possible to be screened for prostate cancer?

Yes, although current screening is not foolproof. The two most commonly used screening test will indicate the possibility of a developing problem, which may or may not be cancer, and point to the need for further more specific testing.

The tests currently in use are the digital rectal exam (DRE), in which a doctor carries out an investigation of the prostate gland by feeling it with a gloved finger inserted through the rectum to detect the presence of hard or lumpy areas, and a blood test used to detect the presence of a substance which is known as prostate specific antigen (PSA) and which is made by the prostate gland.

7. How reliable are present screening methods?

Neither of the current screening tests is foolproof and both can easily miss prostate cancers. However, the two tests used together can produce quite reasonable results and are certainly preferable to not screening for the condition at all. Research is currently underway to find a more accurate method of screening.

8. How is a diagnosis of prostate cancer made?

There is really only one way to confirm the presence of prostate cancer and this is by carrying out a prostate biopsy. This involves removing a number of small samples of tissue from various different parts of the prostate gland and examining these under a microscope in the laboratory.

9. How is prostate cancer treated?

If prostate cancer is localized (that is to say confined only to the prostate gland) there are at present three main forms of treatment available.

One option is to do nothing and to simply watch and wait. If this seems an odd course of action it should be borne in mind that many prostate cancers appear at a very advanced age and, as long as the cancer remains within the prostate gland and is slow growing, the best option for an elderly patient might well be to do nothing at all.

Where active treatment is carried out this will often be to either treat the prostate gland with radiation to kill the cancer cells or to simply remove the prostate gland surgically.

In cases where cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland there are a wide range of treatment options available depending on the degree of spread. This is however a complex area and beyond the scope of this short article.

10. What is the best treatment for localized prostate cancer?

This is a bit like asking ‘how long is a piece of string’ as there are a large number of factors which need to be taken into consideration, not the least of which are the patient’s own circumstances and wishes.

In the majority of cases however prostate cancer is slow growing and there is usually no need to rush into a treatment plan. This gives patients time to discuss their condition with their doctor, including taking a second or even third opinion if they wish, and also to discuss matters with their partner and family before making any decision.

Treatment Options for Pleural Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that is directly attributed to asbestos exposure. There are three forms of mesothelioma. These forms are pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma. This devastating cancer attacks the mesothelium, or the protective lining of the lungs, abdominal cavity, and heart respectively.

Of the three forms of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma is the most common. When asbestos is manufactured, mined or disturbed asbestos fibers are released into the air. Those working with or around asbestos inhale and ingest these fine particles. Over an extended period of time, mesothelioma can take 20 to 60 years to manifest, these asbestos particles can cause normal pleura in the lining of the chest to become abnormal, causing pleural mesothelioma.

Some of the most common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are persistent cough, shortness of breath, bloody sputum, weight loss, fever, swelling of the face and neck, raspy voice and trouble swallowing. Due to the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma mimicking symptoms of other conditions it may go undiagnosed when the need to start mesothelioma treatment immediately is vital.

After a definitive diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma has been established there are several mesothelioma treatment options that can be undertaken. The type of mesothelioma treatment will depend on several key components. These factors are the extent of the disease, the patient’s history and age, and the location of the tumor.

The most common forms of mesothelioma treatment, for those with pleural mesothelioma, are a pneumonectomy, radiation, chemotherapy, and palliative therapies. One form of mesothelioma treatment is a pneumonectomy, or the removal of the cancerous lung. Depending on the spread of the disease, parts of diaphragm may be removed as well. A pleurectomy may also be used to treat pleural mesothelioma by removing parts of the chest and surrounding tissue. The ability for these procedures to be performed are dependent on the patient’s overall health, spread of the disease, and the amount of asbestos exposure.

Radiation treatment is another form of mesothelioma treatment for those suffering from pleural mesothelioma. Radiation therapy works by placing a radioactive source in the area of disease. The use of radiation has the benefit of destroying cancerous tissue while not exposing healthy cells. This form of mesothelioma treatment can be performed in conjunction with surgery or alone if the individual is to ill for surgery.

Chemotherapy is another common form of mesothelioma treatment for those with pleural mesothelioma. This high toxicity drug is usually administered by injection or in pill form. Some side affects from chemotherapy include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fatigue and weight loss. This form of mesothelioma treatment is not targeted to a particular area like radiation therapy. Therefore, the drugs used have to make their way through the body to the cancerous area or areas. Unfortunately, this has the disadvantage of exposing healthy tissue to the toxicity of the chemotherapy drugs.

Palliative therapies are also used as a form of mesothelioma treatment for those with pleural mesothelioma. This involves removing excess fluid by needle and suction from the affected areas. Drugs are also used in order to keep fluid accumulation under control.

As additional research is performed on pleural mesothelioma more treatment options may become available. Keeping informed of new mesothelioma treatments is paramount if diagnosed with this devastating disease.

Mesothelioma Settlements Allow Victims to Cope

If mesothelioma is diagnosed, it is possible to receive standard cancer treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. A good way for mesothelioma victims to cope with this devastating cancer is to file for a mesothelioma settlement.

A mesothelioma settlement may help more than a single victim. If one person has been diagnosed with mesothelioma then chances are others are experiencing illness due to asbestos exposure in the workplace. Each victim deserves the money awarded in a mesothelioma settlement. It can also help victims to cope by realizing that they aren’t alone; others are suffering the same fate and are also seeking a mesothelioma settlement themselves.

It is possible to file a class action lawsuit with several plaintiffs to offset the expenses of legal representation and receive a sizeable mesothelioma settlement.

The process of diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma is long and draining. It is impossible to carry on a “normal” life. It is impossible to continue to work and receive that all-important paycheck. A mesothelioma settlement will provide much-needed funds during this time so a victim can seek out all possible treatment without adding money worries to the equation. Again, it is wise to have an attorney representing you in any type of mesothelioma settlement.

It is difficult for anyone to be confronted with a cancer diagnosis. However, most cancer patients are unable to place blame on a specific cause and receive a settlement, whereas a mesothelioma victim has the opportunity to file for a mesothelioma settlement.

It is the responsibility of the employer to payout a mesothelioma settlement when they are negligent. Most employers will recognize their fault, and in attempt to keep it as quiet as possible, will reach a mesothelioma settlement before the lawsuit reaches court. Your attorney will make certain that you receive all funds that help you through this difficult time in your life.

Thus, the first step after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis is to seek a mesothelioma settlement. A mesothelioma settlement will allow the victim to receive the best possible treatment and help mesothelioma victims cope with their illness by giving them the opportunity to take the time to be with loved ones and join support groups. A mesothelioma settlement will make it easier to cope with this rare form of cancer.

Treatment Options for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that is directly linked to asbestos exposure. By the time this cancer is diagnosed the disease is usually well advanced. Signs and symptoms may not appear until 20 to 60 years after being exposed to asbestos. If diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is imperative to become informed about the different forms of mesothelioma treatment due to the aggressive form of this disease.

Mesothelioma attacks the mesothelium or the protective lining that covers and protects many of the body’s internal organs. One form of this deadly cancer is peritoneal mesothelioma. It invades the peritoneum or the membranous lining that houses the stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas and intestines.

Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for less than a quarter of all Mesothelioma cases. It is the second most common form of mesothelioma after pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include, but are not limited to, abdominal pain, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal swelling and bowel obstruction.

In order for proper mesothelioma treatment to begin, several factors must first be taken into consideration. Details such as the extent of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, past medical history and age, should be evaluated. These details need to be taken into account to determine the best mesothelioma treatment for an individual diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma.

The most common forms of treatment for an individual diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma are surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and palliative therapies. Surgery may be performed to remove part of the lining and tissue from the abdomen, depending on the advancement of the cancer and the size and location of the tumor(s).

Another form of mesothelioma treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma is radiation therapy. Immense energy x-rays are used for the purpose of shrinking tumors. Radiation can be administered either externally or internally. Externally, a machine is placed outside the body to emit radiation to the source of the cancer. A source of radiation can also be internally placed on the affected area in the hope of destroying cancerous tissue.

Chemotherapy is another type of mesothelioma treatment used to combat Peritoneal mesothelioma. This type of treatment uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. These can be given either in tablet form or intravenously. The chemotherapy drugs enter the blood stream and kill off cancerous cells as it makes its way through the body.

Palliative therapy is also used as a form of mesothelioma treatment. Ascites, or fluid accumulation, often takes place in the abdomen when an individual suffers from peritoneal mesothelioma. To relieve pressure and to make the patient more comfortable fluid is extracted by use of needles and suction.

Once your diagnosis is confirmed and you have begun treatment, it is imperative that you seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in asbestos-related illness. If a past employer negligently exposed you to asbestos, you are most likely to be entitled to a monetary award to cover your medical bills, your pain and suffering, and even punitive damages against a negligent employer. Peritoneal mesothelioma is a very difficult cancer to treat; you can rely on your attorney to act in your best interests.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that is attributed to asbestos exposure. If diagnosed, it is imperative to be informed of all treatment options. As more research is performed in the area of mesothelioma treatment, other ways to combat this deadly disease will become available.

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