Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer that affects men globally. It occurs in the prostate gland, a small walnut-sized organ located below the bladder and surrounding the urethra, which plays a crucial role in male reproductive health.
Man with a blue ribbon representing prostate cancer in senior men

Common Causes of Prostate Cancer

While the exact cause of prostate cancer remains unknown, several factors contribute to its development. All men are at risk for prostate cancer with the most common risk factor being age. As men age, there is a greater chance of developing prostate cancer along with other factors including family history, ethnicity, and hormonal imbalances. Genetic mutations, lifestyle choices, obesity, and exposure to certain environmental factors also play a role in increasing the likelihood of developing prostate cancer.
Man suffering with pain and showing common signs and symptoms of prostate cancer in seniors

Common Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

In the early stages, prostate cancer often remains asymptomatic, making early detection challenging. However, as the disease progresses, the following symptoms may manifest:
  • Urinary Problems: Individuals may experience frequent urination, weak urine flow, difficulty urinating, or blood in the urine.
  • Erectile Dysfunction: Prostate cancer can affect sexual function, leading to difficulties achieving or maintaining an erection.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Some individuals may experience pain or discomfort in the pelvic region, lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
  • Blood in Semen: Occasionally, a patient may notice blood in the semen.
While these symptoms may be associated with several other medical conditions, it is essential for individuals experiencing any of these indicators to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation. If you have any concerning signs or symptoms, see your senior healthcare provider right away.
Senior man undergoes the prostate cancer screening process

The Prostate Cancer Screening Process

Men over the age of 45 (age 40 if you are Black or have a family history of prostate or other cancer) should talk to their healthcare provider about screening for prostate cancer. Routine screening starts with a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and may include a rectal exam – both are simple and relatively painless. As a rule, the higher the PSA level in the blood, the more likely a prostate issue is present, however many factors, such as age and race, can affect PSA levels. Some prostate glands make more PSA than others.  There are many factors that can affect PSA levels and your healthcare provider is the best person to interpret your PSA test results. If the PSA test is abnormal, a biopsy may be recommended to determine if you have prostate cancer. PSA levels also can be affected by:
  • Some medical procedures
  • Certain medications
  • An enlarged prostate
  • A prostate infection
 A digital rectal exam (DRE) is useful to evaluate and screen prostate health. The prostate is just in front of the rectum. For this test, your healthcare provider will gently insert a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum to examine the prostate for irregularities in size, shape, and texture

How are You Diagnosed with Pneumonia?

Diagnosis of pneumonia begins with a visit with a senior primary care provider to assess symptoms and risk factors for pneumonia. They will also conduct a physical exam which includes listening to lung sounds and checking oxygen saturation with an oximeter. Some providers can make a diagnosis of pneumonia without any additional testing, however additional tests may be ordered if needed including te following.


Chest X-Ray

Imaging of the lungs to look for location and extent of infection in the lungs.


Sputum Test

A sample of an individual’s sputum is assessed in a lab to identify the virus, bacteria or fungi causing the infection.


Blood Tests

If there is concern of more severe infection, blood tests including a complete blood count, metabolic panel and blood cultures may be done to assess the extent of infection and determine if it has spread into the blood.

Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

Prostate cancer treatment options vary based on the stage and aggressiveness of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health and preferences. The following are some of the common treatment options available within senior healthcare.

Active Surveillance

For slow-growing or low-risk prostate cancers, doctors may opt for active surveillance, which involves monitoring the cancer closely without immediate treatment.


Radical prostatectomy involves the surgical removal of the prostate gland and surrounding tissues. It is often recommended for localized or intermediate-risk prostate cancer.

Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation therapy delivers high-energy beams to kill cancer cells, while brachytherapy involves placing radioactive seeds directly inside the prostate to destroy the cancerous tissue. Reserved for advanced cases, chemotherapy involves the administration of medications that target rapidly dividing cancer cells throughout the body.

Hormone Therapy

This treatment aims to reduce the level of male hormones (androgens) in the body, which can fuel the growth of prostate cancer cells. It may be used alongside other treatment methods or as a palliative therapy.

Care for Prostate Cancer in Seniors at Greater Good Health

prostate cancer is a significant health concern for men worldwide, but advancements in detection and treatment have improved patient outcomes. Regular screenings, acknowledging risk factors, and seeking medical attention for concerning symptoms can aid in early detection. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and available treatment options empowers individuals to make informed decisions for their prostate health.At Greater Good Health, we understand the unique health needs of seniors, especially when it comes to conditions like prostate cancer. Our integrated approach to prostate cancer incudes specialized screening within senior-focused primary care services and proactive preventive care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
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