What is Prostate Cancer? Treatment, Signs and Symptoms

Cancer of the prostate is one that grown in the reproductive glands of men. Prostate is one that grows in the reproductive glands of men.

Prostate cancers have been seen to develop slowly, but there have been cases of belligerent development of these cancers too.

If not detected on time or left untreated, these cancer cells may spread from the prostate to other organs, particularly the bones and lymph nodes.

Difficulty in passing urine, pain, erectile dysfunction and difficulty during sex are its end results.

Research and studies point out that the hormone testosterone is likely to stimulate the growth of normal prostate tissue as well as prostate cancer.

Risk Factors:

Though its incidence of increase in India has been one per cent every year, the silver lining is that the survival chances are much higher than in other cancers, over 97 per cent.

The gland has been seen to turn cancerous mostly in older men and is usually diagnosed in men who are over 60.

People at increased risk are:

• Family history or a close relative known to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

• Black men are known to have higher incidence of prostate cancer.

• Prostate cancer can be divided into 4 stages (depending on size and its spread)

• Stage 1, 2 or early prostate cancer indicates it is localized only to the gland.

• Stage 3 indicates it has advanced.

• Stage 4 is indicative of the spread of cancer in the body to other organs.

What is Prostate Cancer

Test to Diagnose:

• Men who have crossed their 50s should regularly go through a rectal examination called (DRE) and a blood test. The blood test measures a protein called PSA (prostate specific antigen).

• PSA is produced in the prostate gland but an increase in PSA levels may indicate the growth of prostate cancer.

• A biopsy of the prostate gland called TRUS or Tran-rectal Ultrasound is done to confirm its presence.

Causes of Prostate Cancer:

• The predisposing risks seen in prostate cancer are: old age, hereditary factors, influences of hormones, and environmental causes such as chemicals, industrial wastes and toxins.

• Development of prostate cancer below 40 years is rare, but chances increase with advancing years.

• About 50-80 per cent of men affected with prostate cancer are over 80 years with close family member having a history of prostate cancer?

• In its early stages, this cancer shows no symptoms.

• The cancers are either detected via the PSA test discussed above or through the physical presence of lump/s in the gland.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer:

• In advanced stage, the cancer enlarges and puts pressure on the urethra.

• This result in a decrease in urine and difficulty when urinating.

• Patients also experience the sensation of burning or detect blood in urine.

• With the growth of the tumor, there is complete blockage of urine, resulting in immense pain and an enlarged bladder.

Treatment of Prostate Cancer:

• Stages 1, 2 – Radical prostatectomy surgery, radiotherapy to the affected gland has been known to be effective.

• Stage 3 – Treatment is done using cancer hormonal therapy, putting into use drugs like GnRH injections (androgen deprivation drugs) and through radiotherapy.

• For stage 4 – The best therapy is hormone (androgen) removal, which has seen to be effective but the benefits do not last for more than a couple of years.

SOURCE: B-Positive Health Magazine

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