ALAN REED | THE SUN
Dr. Donald Spicer, urologist at Western Baptist Hospital, demonstrates the DaVinci Surgical Robot. With the DaVinci, Spicer can remove a cancerous prostate with minimal pain, minimal recovery time and a small incision. Through a video of an actual surgery, Spicer demonstrated the dexterity he can manipulate the robot with inside a patient's body.
The American Cancer Society reports 240,890 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011 while 33,720 men will die from the disease this year.
According to the cancer society, 1-in-6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 36 will die of prostate cancer.
The National Institutes of Health reports black men are more likely to develop prostate cancer at any age. Significant risk factors include being over age 60 and having a family history of prostate cancer.
Other risk factors are exposure to agent orange, alcohol abuse, farm work, people with a high fat diet, exposure to cadmium, tire plant workers and painters.
Urologist Dr. Donald Spicer of Western Baptist Hospital said the melanin pigment of the skin’s ability seems to play a role in prostate cancer.
Without less ability to create vitamin D, the body seems to have a greater risk of cancer. Moving further north and away from direct sunlight, populations show a greater risk of more aggressive types of prostate cancer.
“We are absolutely sure age plays a role,” said Dr. Donald Spicer, a urologist at Western Baptist Hospital.
“About 0.1 percent of all prostate cancer patients are under 50. While patients over 65 account for 85 percent of all cases, monogamous sexual activity does not decrease risks, Spicer said. But he added that multiple sexual partners may increase risk by increasing the probability of infection.
Spicer said the only certain indicator of prostate cancer is a digital rectal exam.
The less-invasive blood test called a PSA test may indicate a prostate enlargement, which is not due to cancer.
“Difficulty urinating or increased urge is likely due to a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. Symptoms of prostate cancer may include skeletal pain, weight loss, renal failure and swelling in the legs,” Spicer said.
Spicer said treatments for prostate cancer include radiation treatments, surgical removal of the prostate, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiation seed therapy, which places a radiation source in the prostate. Early detection and treatment means keeping the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.
“My recommendation is men should get an annual screening if they are 40-years-old or older, and have a life expectancy of greater than 10 years,” Spicer said.