Prostate cancer affects millions of men every year and is the second largest cause of cancer deaths in men in the United States.
Many men are unaware they have prostate cancer
Tests for prostate cancer are not always definitive..
Many new options are opening up for treatment of prostate cancer.
The more common treatments of orchiectomy, radiation, androgen suppression and estrogen therapy are being displaced or supplemented by new drugs, gene therapy, immunotherapies, and combination therapies.
The newer therapies are more cytostatic than cytotoxic -- more specific and fewer side effects.
Missing currently from the studies of prostate cancer is new diagnostic techniques showing the presence of tumors in early stages.
This way the unspecificity of the PSA test can be avoided.
This will eliminate the unnecessary treatment of those with benign enlargement of the prostate.
Prostate cancer is very common and after lung cancer, it is the most common form of cancer in men in the United States (Cramer, 1999; Walsh, 1998). It was expected to cause more than 31,000 deaths in 2000 (Bayoumi, Brown and Garber, 2000). Annual Medicare expenditures for prostate cancer usually exceeds $1.4 million. It usually develops after age 50 but can occur in younger men (Clinical Reference Systems, 2000). Prostate cancer often progresses slowly in older men and they may die of other causes before it progresses to a lethal stage. Experts differ on their estimates of the men with prostate cancer who actually die from the disease (Walsh, 1998). In 1994, it was estimated that only 20 percent of the men who get prostate cancer actually die from it. There is also controversy as to whether treatment makes any difference to death statistics, since many older men who develop prostate cancer have a slowly progressing course and die from other causes.
The cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but several areas are being s...