Prostate cancer is cancer that develops in the prostate gland. The prostate gland is a small gland found in men that produces the seminal fluid that helps transport and nourish sperm. Prostate cancer happens to be one of the most common types of cancer found in men. Then, it spreads slowly to the other parts of the body.
What are the Causes of Prostate Cancer?
There is no clear reason for how prostate cancer begins. It could be due to a mutation of the cells in the prostate gland. The mutation can often lead to cells multiplying rapidly and living for a much more extended period.
This accumulation of cells forms a tumor that gradually grows and invades nearby tissues. These cells can also metastasize. This means they spread to other parts of the body. Certain kinds of prostate cancer develop slowly. These require minimum to no treatment. While other kinds of prostate cancer spread very fast.
What are the Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?
The following factors can increase your chances of getting prostate cancer:
- Race: Black men have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer compared to the men of other races. Science is yet to understand the reason. It is also worth noting that prostate cancer in black men is more aggressive and advances faster.
- Age: The older you get, the more are your chances of getting prostate cancer.
- Obesity: Men who are obese have a higher chance of getting prostate cancer than others.
- Genetics: If some men of your family have had prostate cancer, then the chances of you developing it are higher. Also, if you have a family member who has had breast cancer, the chances of the next generation developing prostate cancer are high.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer exhibits the following signs and symptoms:
In the early stages, prostate cancer might show no symptoms or signs.
The following symptoms might be seen in prostate cancer that has further advanced:
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Pain in the bones.
- Problem urinating.
- Reduced force in urine stream.
- Feeling uncomfortable in the pelvic region.
- Bloody semen.
Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer
Prostate cancer can cause the following symptoms when it advances:
- Pain in the hips, back, or bones: When cancer begins to spread, there may be a pain in your hips, back, and bones. There might also be some pain in the shoulders.
- Fatigue: A clear sign of the cancer spreading is the feeling of fatigue. You will continuously feel fatigued.
- Weight loss: A substantial amount of weight loss can occur when cancer begins to spread.
- A buildup of fluids in the legs and feet: One can notice a large buildup of fluids in the legs and feet when cancer begins to spread to other parts of the body.
- Change in bowel habits: When cancer begins to spread, there may be a difference in your routine bowel movements.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
Prostate cancer is diagnosed using the following methods:
- DRE or Digital Rectal Exam.
- Prostate ultrasound and biopsy.
- CAT scan.
- Cystoscopy or Bladder Scope Test.
- PSA or Prostate-Specific Antigen Blood Test.
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What are the complications that can arise due to prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer can bring about many health complications. Some of them are as follows:
- Involuntary urination: Prostate cancer, as well as its treatment, can lead to involuntary urination. There are three ways of fixing this: medication, surgery, or insertion of catheters.
- Erectile dysfunction: Prostate cancer can lead to erectile dysfunction. In some cases, the treatment of prostate cancer can also lead to erectile dysfunction. In these cases, medication and other devices aid in resolving the issue of erectile dysfunction.
- Spreading of cancer: Spreading of cancer is also known as metastasis. This is when cancer spreads from nearby tissues to other organs. As long as it is limited to your prostate, there is a high chance of a complete cure. However, once it begins to spread, it is unlikely to be cured.
How is prostate cancer treated?
Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer of low-risk, immediate treatment might not be required. Rather, following-up through regular rectal exams, blood tests, and biopsies will be done. This allows you and your doctor to keep track of your cancer’s development. If these exams indicate that your cancer is developing, your doctor might change your treatment approach to radiation or surgery.
- Surgery: In prostate cancer surgery, the prostate gland is removed (radical prostatectomy) along with a few adjacent tissues and some lymph nodes.
- Radiation: Radiation can be of two types:
- External beam radiation: In this, radiation is given from outside the body.
- Brachytherapy: In this, a lot of tiny rice-sized radioactive seeds are placed in the prostate tissue. These seeds are radioactive. The seeds give radiation from within your body by delivering a very small dose of radiation through a long time period.
- Hormone therapy: This is a treatment that stops the production of testosterone, a male hormone, in your body. This is done because the cells of prostate cancer rely on this hormone for their growth. Stopping the production, and, in turn, the supply might lead to the cancer cells growing slower or dying. The options for hormone therapy are:
- Orchiectomy (a surgery performed to remove the testicles)
- Medicines that stop the production of testosterone in your body
- Medicines that block the testosterone from reaching the cancer cells
- Cryoablation or cryosurgery includes freezing the tissue to kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy can also be an option for treating prostate cancer that has spread to remote body areas. This thereapy may also be an option for cancers that do not respond to hormone therapy.
- Biological therapy (immunotherapy) makes use of the immune system of your body to fight cancer cells. One type of biological therapy called sipuleucel-T (provenge) has been developed to treat advanced, recurrent prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is one of the most treatable cancers in men. It usually limits itself to the prostate gland. Even if it spreads, it spreads very slowly. If diagnosed in time, it can be treated easily.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
1. Does increased sexual activity increase the chances of prostate cancer?
No, there is no link between sexual activities and prostate cancer. There is also no evidence to prove that masturbation has any direct link to prostate cancer. So, an increase in sexual activities or masturbation will not increase your chances of getting prostate cancer.
2. Are there any supplements to prevent prostate cancer?
Some research has shown that vitamin E supplements can help prevent prostate cancer. There is, however, other research that disputes this. Selenium is another nutrient that has been linked to preventing prostate cancer.
3. Does hormonal therapy affect your mood?
Yes, hormonal therapy can affect your mood. You may feel more emotional and different. Men tend to have mood swings. They may also get angry and show signs of depression and anxiety.
4. Are there any side effects of prostate cancer treatment?
Yes, there are some side effects. These include urinary issues, hot flashes, incontinence, nausea, erectile dysfunction, etc. Most of them are just temporary, i.e., for as long as the treatment is going on.
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