What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells found in the prostate gland in men that leads to tumor forms. The prostate is about the size of a large walnut. It is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate’s main function is to make fluid for semen, a white substance that carries sperm.
Causes of Prostate Cancer:
*Sometimes, cancer cells break away from a malignant tumor in the prostate and enter the bloodstream or the lymphatic system and travel to other organs in the body.
*Age: Prostate cancer is rare among men under the age of 45, but much more common after the age of 50.
*Genetics: A man has a much higher risk of developing cancer if his identical twin has it. A man whose brother or father had/had prostate cancer runs twice the risk of developing it, compared to other men.
*Medication: Some studies say there might be a link between the daily use of anti-inflammatory medicines and prostate cancer risk. A study found that medicines, which are used to lower cholesterol levels, may lower a person’s risk of developing prostate cancer.
*Obesity: A study found a clear link between obesity and raised prostate cancer risk, as well as a higher risk of metastasis and death among obese people who develop prostate cancer.
*Lack of Vitamin D, a diet high in red meat may raise a person’s chances of developing prostate cancer.
*Men who have had gonorrhea have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer:
During the early stages of prostate cancer there are usually no symptoms. Most men at this stage find out that they have prostate cancer after a routine checkup or blood test. When symptoms do exist, they are usually one or more of the following:
* The patient urinates more often
*The patient gets up at night more often to urinate
*He may find it hard to start urinating
*He may find it hard to keep urinating once he has started
*There may be blood in the urine
*Urination might be painful
*Ejaculation may be painful (less common)
*Achieving or maintaining an erection may be difficult (less common).
If the prostate cancer is advanced the following symptoms are also possible:
*Bone pain, often in the spine (vertebrae), pelvis, or ribs.
*The proximal part of the femur can be painful.
*Leg weakness (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord)
*Urinary and fecal incontinence (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord).
Early stage prostate cancer
If the cancer is small and contained – localized – it is usually managed by one of the following treatments:
*Not immediate treatment is carried out. Prostate Specific Antigen blood levels are regularly monitored.
*Radical prostatectomy – the prostate is surgically removed.
*Brachytherapy – radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate.
*Conformal radiotherapy and Intensity modulated radiotherapy
More advanced prostate cancer
If the cancer is more aggressive, or advanced, the patient may require a combination of radiotherapy and hormone therapy.