Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, worldwide, with 1 in 6 men, on average, diagnosed in their lifetime.

The risk factor for men developing prostate cancer rises with age. Risk rises in men over 50 and most cases are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. Men of African descent seem to have the highest risk of developing prostate cancer while men of Asian descent have the lowest. The reason for the differences in risk within ethnic populations is unclear.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School claim to have identified a way to determine if the prostate cancer will return after treatment. The study results were published in JAMA Oncology under “Surrogate End Points for All-Cause Mortality in Men With Localized Unfavorable-Risk Prostate Cancer Treated With Radiation Therapy vs Radiation Therapy Plus Androgen Deprivation Therapy.” [1]

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a blood test used primarily to screen for prostate cancer. The test measures the amount of PSA in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate.

Another common screening test is a digital rectal exam. (This is usually done in addition to a PSA test.) With the digital rectal exam, the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum to reach the prostate. By feeling or pressing on the prostate, the doctor may be able to judge whether it has abnormal lumps or hard areas.

However, neither the PSA test nor the digital rectal exam provides enough information to diagnose prostate cancer. Abnormal results in these tests may lead your doctor to recommend a prostate biopsy. During this procedure, samples of tissue are removed for laboratory examination. A diagnosis of cancer is based on the biopsy results.

PSA is not a good indication of cancer, but it is a good measure of how well cancer treatment has worked. PSA should drop to very low levels after surgery or radiation treatment for cancer. But it doesn't always, and it often rebounds. But not every man whose PSA goes up after treatment dies of cancer. And not every prostate cancer patient is saved by fresh treatment once his PSA rises to a certain level, usually a reading of 10. [2]

Note that if the cancer has already spread outside of the prostate area, surgery is of little or no value. Once the cancer has spread it may become fast growing and may have spread to vital organs. By this time, the slow growing cancer in the prostate area is no longer of any concern, it is the cancer in other areas that are of concern.

For orthodox medicine, prostate cancer creates a paradox. If the cancer has spread beyond the prostate, both surgery and radiation are worthless, because the cancer in the prostate area of the body is no longer the main problem. If the cancer has not spread, then alternative cancer treatments can easily cure it because it is so slow growing.

Alternative treatments are a far superior treatment for prostate cancer whether the cancer has metastasized or not, that is one reason prostate surgery is never necessary.