Infographic: Prostate Cancer in 2013
What is the Prostate?
The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system. It adds nutrients and fluid to sperm. Normally the size of a walnut, the prostate can be divided into right and left “lobes.” It is located in front of the rectum, just below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen through the penis.
The growth of cells in the prostate, both healthy and cancerous, is stimulated by testosterone. Male hormones, including testosterone, are produced almost entirely by the testicles, with only a small percentage produced by adrenal glands (small glands found just above the kidneys).
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men. One in seven men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.
Prostate cancer is a disease where some prostate cells have lost normal control of growth and division. They no longer function as healthy cells.
A cancerous prostate cell has the following features:
• Uncontrolled growth
• Abnormal structure
• The ability to move to other parts of the body (invasiveness).
It is important to note that not all clusters of cells growing in a mass are cancerous, and that a prostate with an irregular shape is not necessarily cancerous either. It is advisable to ask your doctor what it may be.
Prostate cancer can be slow-growing and some men who develop prostate cancer may live many years without ever having the cancer detected. It is important to get screened regularly so that if you do develop prostate cancer, the appropriate action can be taken. A significant proportion of prostate cancers, if untreated, may have serious consequences.
Who Gets Prostate Cancer?
There is no single cause of prostate cancer. However, some factors make developing prostate cancer more likely.
Age: The chance of getting prostate cancer rises quickly after a man reaches age 50. Age is the most important risk factor for prostate cancer.
Race: Prostate cancer is more common in men of African or Caribbean descent and less common in men of Asian descent.
Family history: Genetics plays a role – the risk of prostate cancer increases if close family members have had the disease.
Diet: Men who eat a low-fibre, high-fat diet have a higher rate of prostate cancer. Research suggests that saturated fat (commonly found in processed foods, whole-milk dairy products and fatty cuts of meat) increases the production of the hormone testosterone, which may help prostate cancer cells grow.
Lifestyle: Having a high Body Mass Index (BMI) may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Being physically active is a good preventative tactic, along with losing weight and eating the right foods. Consuming lycopene (found in tomatoes and tomato products), soy, green tea and cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli), among other foods and nutrients, may help to prevent prostate cancer.
It is possible to develop prostate cancer even when none of these risk factors is present.
How Can I Tell if I Have Prostate Cancer?
Typically, the first symptoms of prostate cancer are difficulty urinating, frequent urination, and blood in the urine. However, symptoms are not always present especially in the early stages of prostate cancer. If detected and treated in its earliest stages (when the cells are only in the prostate), your chances of survival are greatly increased. Early detection is key.
There are two main tests that are used to determine whether it is likely you have prostate cancer, even if there are no obvious symptoms. These are prostate -specific antigen (PSA) test and the digital rectal exam (DRE).
The PSA Test
This is a simple blood test that your doctor can order. It measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate that helps keep semen in liquid form. Typically, prostate cancer glands release more PSA into the blood circulation than healthy prostate glands. Therefore, a high PSA level can be a warning sign of prostate cancer.
The Digital Rectal Exam
In a digital rectal exam (DRE), your doctor will feel the size and shape of the prostate by inserting a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum. The area where most prostate cancers are found can be felt during this test. A healthy prostate feels soft, rubbery, smooth, symmetrical, regular and even. Any lumps, or hard, woody or irregular areas of the prostate may indicate the presence of cancer and will require further testing.
It is important to remember that no test is perfect. Combining the PSA blood test with a DRE provides your doctor with more information and helps to increase the accuracy of these early detection methods.
Why is Testing Important?
Regular testing increases the likelihood of cancer being detected at an early stage when there are more treatment options and the chance of cure is highest.
A higher than normal amount of PSA in the blood is a possible indicator of prostate cancer, although other conditions of the prostate can also increase PSA levels.
To Learn More About Prostate Cancer, Visit the Prostate Cancer Canada Site
Prostate Cancer Canada
Prostate Cancer Canada is the only national foundation dedicated to the elimination of the disease through research, education support and awareness.
Their goals are twofold – to fund research that will uncover better diagnostic and treatment options and to provide comprehensive support services for those living with prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Canada’s vision is to be a global leader in the fight against prostate cancer, earning the enthusiasm and support of Canadians through integrity, compassion, and innovation.
Prostate Cancer Canada raises funds for the development of programs related to awareness, public education, advocacy, support of those affected, and research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer.
Your Donation in Action
The percentage of fundraising dollars spent on mission related activities must be at least 60% in order to be deemed “high performing”. At 80%, Prostate Cancer Canada exceeds this benchmark.
For the year ending 31 March 2012, Prostate Cancer Canada designated 80% of total revenue to Mission-related programs, such as research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer; public education; support groups and survivorship.
The breakdown of PCC funds and mission-specific funds are shown below:
The actual areas of research being supported by your donor dollars are illustrated by the following pie charts. The first chart shows the research you have made possible in the 2012 calendar year. The second pie chart shows funds committed to specific multi-year projects or those that extend beyond 2012.