The prostate is a male organ responsible for producing the fluid that enriches and protects sperm. The organ is approximately the size of a walnut, and is located below the bladder and in front of the bowel.
Prostate cancer occurs as a result of abnormal cell growth, or when cells in the prostate become inflamed. Men who develop prostate cancer may display no symptoms at all in the early stages; however, as time progresses, they may begin to experience discomfort and adverse urinary symptoms.
Prostate cancer is most prevalent in men over the age of 50, and 80 percent of all cases occur in men over the age of 65. Although physicians are mostly unaware of what causes prostate cancer, studies have shown that diets high in fat and red meat can contribute to prostate cancer, as well as lack of exercise.
When prostate cancer is left untreated, it can advance and spread to other regions of the body, including the lymph nodes in the pelvis, bones, lungs, and other various organs. Prostate cancer is generally treated using chemotherapy, radiation, cryotherapy, and hormonal therapy. In some cases, treatment of prostate cancer may include surgery to remove the prostate gland and its surrounding tissue, including the seminal vesicles.
In the year 2013, approximately 238,500 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in men living in the United States, and approximately 29,700 men will experience mortality as a result of prostate cancer.
Regardless of the treatment methods being used, prostate cancer can be difficult for patients on an emotional as well as a physical level. Considering the effects prostate cancer can also have on a man’s testosterone and hormone levels, many men find it helpful to attend support groups to help them cope with prostate cancer.
A prostate cancer support group is an ideal environment and forum in which men and their families can learn and share information about prostate cancer, such as common symptoms, successful treatment methods, side effects, and coping techniques. Members can also hear from prostate cancer survivors, who can share stories about their experiences and about how they learned to become healthier and happier after cancer.
To provide support to prostate cancer patients, Shawnee Mission Medical Center hosts the Prostate Cancer Support Group, in which patients can come together in a safe and open forum and discuss their experiences living with the condition. Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer can receive relevant education about cancer symptoms and treatments, as well as one-on-one consultations with medical staff.
For more information about the Prostate Cancer Support Group, contact Shawnee Mission Medical Center. The support group currently meets on the second Tuesday of every month between 6 and 7 pm in the Surgery Conference Room. Spouses and significant others are welcome and encouraged to attend. For more details, please contact Penny Bedell at 913-632-2262.