Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about prostate cancer from Mayo Clinic urologist Mitchell Humphreys, M.D.
Hello. I'm Dr. Humphreys, a urologist at Mayo Clinic, and I'm here to answer some of the important questions you may have about prostate cancer.
How do you know how fast my cancer is growing?
If you have low to intermediate risk prostate cancer, there are genomic tests that can better inform on the risk of developing a more aggressive cancer. These tests look at the DNA of your actual cancer cells to compare them to other men, to come up with an individual risk profile for you and your cancer. None of it is 100%, but it does provide the best evidence based on your specific prostate cancer.
Is prostate cancer sexually transmitted?
No, there's no risk to your partner from prostate cancer. There's no risk with sexual activity. Prostate cancer is internal and does not spread through contact.
Is prostate cancer hereditary?
Some prostate cancers are hereditary. If you have prostate cancer, all of your first-degree relatives -- parent, sibling, or child -- are at an elevated risk for developing prostate cancer. If you are diagnosed when you're young in your 40s and develop prostate cancer, you may want to consider a genetic consultation to see if there are any known genetic risk factors that you and your family may have.
What can I do to prevent or slow prostate cancer?
There's no one thing. A healthy lifestyle with 30 minutes of exercise a day has shown to be protective. Also, diet is important by limiting red meat and eating fresh fruits and vegetables, low in sugars and carbohydrates. I would advise following a heart-healthy diet as research has shown that it is healthy for the prostate as well.
Is there a risk of cancer spreading if I have a biopsy of my prostate?
No, prostate cancer doesn't spread that way. And there have been millions of biopsies throughout the world and never a single incident of it being spread that way has ever been reported.
When should I stop screening for prostate cancer?
Not all prostate cancer is lethal and not all prostate cancer requires treatment. As a general rule of thumb, if your life expectancy is 10 years or less, you probably will not have to worry about prostate cancer affecting you in your lifetime. However, you should discuss this with your care team to determine how it specifically relates to you.
How can I be the best partner to my medical team?
The best thing you can do is be open and honest. Your medical team is here to be a resource to you, to support you and to help you in any way they can. Never hesitate to ask your medical team any questions or concerns that you have being informed makes all the difference. Thank you for your time and we wish you well.