What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer that affects men worldwide. This type of cancer appears in the prostate, a small walnut-shaped gland located in the masculine pelvis, which is responsible for the production of the seminal fluid that forms part of semen. This type of cancer grows slowly and usually affects older men.
Prostate Cancer Signs and Symptoms
Prostate cancer has a slow growth pattern and might not cause any signs and symptoms in the early stages of the disease. However, after prostate cancer has grown long enough, the following signs and symptoms might appear:
- Blood in semen
- Erectile dysfunction
- Mild pain and discomfort in the pelvic and anal area
- Finding it difficult to urinate
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
Prostate Cancer Common Causes
The exact reason for the development of prostate cancer remains unknown. However, doctors have established that prostate cancer begins after some cells in your prostate gland become abnormal and have an increased growth that leads to the formation of a tumor.
There are some well-known risk factors related to prostate cancer, including:
- Prostate cancer family history
- Black men have a higher risk
- Hormonal disbalance
Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
As with most types of cancer, discovering prostate cancer in the early stages of the disease is the most important criteria to be cured. There are some medical organizations that recommend prostate cancer screening in men during their 50s or sooner, in order to detect and treat this condition properly. Prostate cancer screening techniques include:
- Digital rectal exam. In order to detect any abnormality in the consistence of your prostate gland.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is a specific substance produced by the gland that might be abnormally increased in case of cancer. Although, some other non-cancerous process like inflammation or infection of the prostate, might also increase the PSA levels.
In case there is an abnormality detected during your screening, your doctor might recommend further tests to determine whether you have prostate cancer, including:
- Rectal ultrasound.
- Prostate biopsy
Prostate Cancer Treatment
Your prostate cancer treatment options depend on several factors, such as your tumor growth rate, the presence of metastasis at the moment of diagnosis and the potential benefits or side effects of the available treatment options. Some of the options include:
Surgery for prostate cancer involving the removal of all of the prostate gland, the surrounding tissue, and some lymph nodes too. This is suitable for men with localized prostate cancer.
Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy to kill cancer cells. There are two main types of radiation modalities: external beam radiation, which comes from outside of your body, and brachytherapy, which is placed inside your body.
Hormone therapy is used to stop your body from producing the male hormone testosterone, which is responsible for helping prostate cancer cells grow. Cutting off the supply of testosterone may cause cancer cells to die or to grow more slowly. This treatment option is used in men with advanced prostate cancer that might not be able to receive the other above treatment options.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill rapidly growing cells, including prostate cancer cells.