In Texas alone, it is estimated that more than 177,000 people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer, and 14,200 of those diagnoses will be prostate cancer. When caught in its earliest stages, prostate cancer is often treatable. However, it is expected that more than 2,100 Texas men will die from prostate cancer in 2021. 1, 2
To increase your chance of surviving prostate cancer, catch it as early as possible by reporting any suspicious symptoms to your doctor as soon as possible. Common risk factors include difficulty starting urination, weak or interrupted flow of urine, frequent urination (especially at night), difficulty emptying the bladder completely, pain or burning during urination, and blood in the urine or semen. Also, discuss your risk factors with your doctor. In the U.S., one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. 1, 2 In African American men, that number drops to one in seven. 3 However, African American men are twice as likely to die of the disease. 3 For most men, advanced age and a family history of prostate cancer are the highest risk factors. In the U.S., being a military veteran is also considered a risk for prostate cancer. 1, 2
More than 2,100 Texas men will die from prostate cancer in 2021.
Treatment options for prostate cancer vary greatly based on the stage at diagnosis. Surgery (often a radical prostatectomy), radiation, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy are changing and improving every day. Advances are also being made in the early detection of prostate cancer metastasis, as well as in areas like active surveillance of prostate cancer. All treatment options, including clinical trials, are best made after thorough discussions with a prostate cancer treatment team.
Each year, more than 70,000 men with prostate cancer undergo a prostatectomy in the U.S. 4 The two most feared side effects of a radical prostatectomy, which is the most common treatment for prostate cancer, are loss of erection and urinary incontinence. 7 The nerves or muscles that control an erection and urine flow lie very close to the prostate and may be damaged during prostate cancer treatment. Some men may regain their existing erectile function after a prostatectomy, while some may not. The journey is different for each patient.
Men often leak urine immediately following surgery, but the leakage usually tapers off within several weeks or months. While every situation is different, approximately 9-16% of men have persistent post-prostatectomy incontinence 1 year after treatment5. Recovery can be impacted by factors such as age, general physical health, and the degree of full bladder control before surgery. When incontinence persists beyond six, consider consulting your doctor. 5 Radical prostatectomies and radiation (external beam or brachytherapy) can damage the urinary sphincter and cause stress urinary incontinence. As a result, symptoms may range from light leakage to a complete inability to control the flow of urine. Nearly 1 in 10 men still suffer from daily bladder leakage more than a year after surgery. 5
To treat the side effect of stress urinary incontinence, there are short-term and long-term options. Short-term treatment options include behavioral modifications, such as reduced fluid intake and planned restroom breaks; intervention, such as pelvic floor physical therapy, Kegel exercises, and Biofeedback; and coping, which includes pads, diapers, catheters, and penile clamps. Long-term treatment options include a male sling system and an artificial urinary sphincter, which is considered the gold standard treatment option.8-10
If the cancer is detected early and the cancer is treated using nerve sparing techniques, sexual activity may return to normal after surgery. This can take three to six months with continued improvement for two to three years. 6 Erectile dysfunction as a result of prostate cancer surgery, robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) 10-46% of men one year after surgery had ED. 5 Should ED persist as a prostatectomy side effect, there are treatment options you can discuss with your doctor, including oral medications, vacuum erection devices, penile injections, intraurethral suppositories, and penile implants. For those experiencing long-term urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction, it’s important to remember that these are effective solutions available that can restore intimacy, confidence, and quality of life.
ZERO, is an organization formed to stand up for men and their families impacted by prostate cancer and become a political force for a cure. ZERO is proud to offer a variety of patient and caregiver support options, including ZERO360. This is a comprehensive patient support program that aligns patients with trained case managers who can help navigate insurance, financial needs, and provide emotional support resources. ZERO’s MENtor and Caregiver Mentor programs provide peer-to-peer support opportunities for those individuals who prefer to get support from someone who has gone through similar experiences. In fall 2021, ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer and Us TOO International will merge into one organization, ZERO Prostate Cancer. With this exciting merger, more than 200 support groups will be available to prostate cancer patients throughout the country.