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Web Site Helps Men Evaluate Risk Of Prostate Cancer

Armen Hareyan's picture

In 2007, more than 218,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 27,000 men will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. While it is estimated that one man in six will suffer from prostate cancer in his lifetime, only one man in 34 will die from it. The earlier the disease is diagnosed and treated, the more likely it is for patients to survive and remain disease-free.

A Web site published by Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers in Evergreen Park, Illinois, near Chicago, encourages men to learn more about prostate cancer and to take a free confidential on-line risk test to evaluate their prostate cancer risk. The Web site's prostate cancer risk test evaluates a man's risk based on certain genetic and lifestyle factors that scientists believe affect one's prostate cancer risk.

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Knowing one's risk can significantly increase a man's chance for surviving prostate cancer. When the disease is still confined to the prostate, the five- year relative survival rate is nearly 100 percent. Men whose cancer is diagnosed early may be candidates for any of the accepted prostate cancer treatments, and typically suffer from fewer side effects. Some of the treatment options available to prostate cancer patients include radiation therapy and surgery. Little Company of Mary Hospital is the only hospital in the entire greater Chicago area to offer both High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy for prostate cancer treatment and the da Vinci robotic prostatectomy.

High Dose Rate brachytherapy provides the most precise delivery of radiation possible in the treatment of prostate cancer. Unlike permanent seed implants, patients have temporary placement of radioactive catheters which can be custom-tailored to deliver precision internal radiation and better avoid the urethra, rectum, and nerves to reduce overall toxicity without being radioactive and exposing family members to radiation. It is a one-day procedure where patients can go back to work the very next day. HDR brachytherapy is generally more precise and less toxic than conventional seed implants.

The da Vinci robotic surgical system is a state-of-the-art minimally invasive technology which allows surgeons to perform complex surgeries through tiny openings. Patients who undergo da Vinci prostatectomies typically enjoy fewer overall side effects, shorter hospital stays, and earlier returns to full activities. In addition, nerves and valves are more easily preserved using this technique, offering the patient improved urinary control and preservation of sexual function without compromising cancer control.

At its earliest stages, prostate cancer does not present with any symptoms. Therefore knowing one's risk and early detection for prostate cancer are a man's best defenses.