Prostate cancer can be aggressive and require immediate treatment, or it can be so slow growing that old age will likely causes death long before the prostate cancer.
In the case of the latter, slow growing prostate cancer, the risks of treatment, which include impotence and incontinence, may not be worth the benefits. [Prostate Cancer Treatment]
Given these two very different prognosis, determining the exact kind of prostate cancer is essential, and unfortunately fairly complicated.
A new test could help with that problem. Prostate tumors produce chemicals, and it turns out one of those chemicals, sarcosine, is much higher when the patient has the aggressive form of prostate cancer.
The PSA, or prostate specific antigen, test is the most widely used tool for diagnosing prostate cancer. While the PSA can tell you about the presence of prostate cancer, it does not give you information on the type of prostate cancer.
As it turns out, sarcosine seems to be closely linked to how aggressive prostate cancer is. When researchers studying benign tumors in the lab, added sarcosine, the tumors became much more aggressive.
Blocking sarcosine in the aggressive tumors they were studying caused the tumors to become less aggressive. So this new finding may not only help diagnose prostate cancer, it could be key in finding a better treatment for the disease.
Only lung cancer causes more cancer deaths in men. Currently, the best way to prevent prostate cancer is to strive for optimal health, through good nutrition, regular exercise, and regular check-ups.