Dr. Sal Vasireddy has worked for over two decades as a Medical Oncologist and Hematologist in Memphis. Working at Baptist Cancer Center, he guides patients through treatment plans and administers systemic therapies. Below, Dr. Vasireddy shares some facts about prostate cancer that everyone should know.

Where is the prostate gland located?

The prostate gland, which sits below the bladder and secretes seminal fluid, is about the size of a walnut, on average measuring 4x3x2 centimeters. Who is at risk for prostate cancer? Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States. The most important risk factors are increasing age, ethnicity, genetics, and possibly dietary factors. Many cases are asymptomatic, and the disease progresses slowly.

At what age should I begin screening?

Talk with your healthcare provider about the best time to begin screening. While most men with average risk may begin testing annually at age 50, those with a genetic predisposition (BRCA 1, BRCA 2, Lynch Syndrome) may want to start screening at age 40. What tests are there for prostate cancer? Testing is commonly performed by checking the blood for prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland, both normal and cancerous. The PSA is often elevated in people with prostate cancer, but several noncancerous conditions may also cause the PSA level to be elevated.

What happens if the PSA level isn’t in the normal range?

If the PSA level is elevated, your healthcare provider may refer you to a urologist, a medical doctor specializing in conditions affecting the urinary tract and reproductive systems. They may recommend a biopsy of the prostate gland to confirm if cancer is present, followed by imaging studies to help determine the stage. What treatment options do I have if prostate cancer is diagnosed? If prostate cancer is confirmed, treatment options could be watchful waiting or active surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, radiopharmaceutical therapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and potentially chemotherapy in the later stages if the tumor has progressed.

How serious is a prostate cancer diagnosis?

Survival rates for prostate cancer vary based on several factors including stage and grade of the cancer, as well as the patient’s age and general health. The five-year relative survival rate is nearly 100% for patients with local or regional prostate cancer; However, this decreases dramatically if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. As with any cancer, early detection and treatment most often provide the best long-term survival rates.

For more information or to setup an appointment with Dr. Sailendra Vasireddy visit Baptistcancercenter.com or call 901.752.6131.