The prostate gland is found immediately below the bladder and is part of the urinary and reproductive systems. This means that the main prostate cancer symptoms are identical to those produced by other problems down there. If you remember that around 2/3rds of prostate cancer cases are slow growing and that this is really more common in older men then you can see why it can be a difficult disease to identify unless you take proper medical advice.
Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer:
The main prostate cancer symptoms arise from the growth of the tumor pressing on the urethra which then blocks the flow of urine. The symptoms basically revolve around problems with urinating or ejaculating and could include:
- Difficulty in passing urine.
- An urge to pass urine more often and particularly during the night.
- Pain when urinating and possibly blood in the urine or semen.
- Pain when ejaculating.
Because the cancer generally is very slow growing it can be that the first symptoms which are noticed come from the cancer having spread outside the prostate. For instance, pain in the back, hips, pelvis and other bony areas.
Risks Of Prostate Cancer:
Prostate cancer is now the most common cancer in men (other than non melanoma skin cancer). Age is the most significant risk factor for prostate conditions. It is very rare in men under 50 and more than half the diagnosed cases are seen in men over 70 years old.
Other Risk Factors Include:
A history of prostate or breast cancer in the family has a positive correlation.
An African ancestry will raise the risk level. Hispanics and Asians have a lower risk level.
There is some evidence of a higher risk associated with dairy products.
How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
Because prostate cancer shares it’s symptoms with minor ailments the initial advice is usually to either wait and see or to prescribe antibiotics.
Your medical consultant will generally undertake two tests as a first step:
1. Feel The Prostate Gland For Enlargement:
This is done by inserting a gloved finger into the anus.
2. A Blood Test For A Prostate Specific Antigen Or PSA:
However a raised PSA reading is not always attributable to prostate cancer.
Once prostate cancer has been diagnosed the next important step is to determine how advanced it is and also how aggressive is the growth.
There Are Four Basic Stages To The Cancer:
Small and completely within the prostate gland.
Still within the gland but it is now large enough to be felt during a rectal examination.
The cancer has broken through the covering of the prostate. Typically it will now grow into the tubes which carry the semen.
The cancer has typically spread into the bladder or rectum. Other body parts might also be infected. At this stage your medical consultant will start to talk about a Gleason score which will be between 1 and 10. The lower the better.
Treatments For Prostate Cancer:
With the majority of tumors being non aggressive and slow growing the option to just monitor the situation can be the best choice.
There Are Two Choices Here:
- Active Surveillance:
Regular tests but no treatment unless the cancer shows signs of growing aggressively.
- Watchful Waiting:
Regular checkups but fewer prostate biopsies. This option is often used if you have other medical problems which would rule out radical treatments.
1. Removal Of Prostate Gland:
The prostate gland is completely removed either through a cut in your abdomen or by using keyhole surgery.
2. An Orchidectomy:
The testicles produce testosterone which in turn is linked with the growth in the tumor. This operation removes the testicles which can shrink a tumor or at least halt the growth.
3. A Transurethral Resection:
This will improve your ability to urinate but will not cure the cancer.
High energy waves are used to treat the cancer. The waves can be tightly focused and this can reduce the risk of damage to other areas.
There Are Three Main Ways To Apply The Radiotherapy:
1. External Beam Radiation:
This uses high energy x-ray beams.
2. Brachy Therapy:
Tiny radioactive seeds (the size of a grain of rice) are implanted beside the tumor.
3. High Intensity Focused Ultrasound:
Its a new treatment which heats and destroys the cancer cells.
Hormone Treatment For Prostate Cancer:
This seeks to control the production of testosterone which fuels the growth of the tumor.
This uses natural substances either produced directly from the body or uses drugs made from these substances. The idea is to attack or control the growth of the cancer.
Overcome the side effects of other treatments such as chemotherapy.
Prostate cancer is identified with men older than 50 and typically 70 years or more in age. The cancer will generally be slow growing with symptoms which are identical to other less serious problems. Diagnosis can be difficult in the early stages and there are quite a few different treatments available. Proper medical advice should be sought in all cases.
We Want Your Feedback Please!!
What are your views, tips and suggestions? Please share with us in the comments below.
If you like this post and want to have top health tips, fitness tips, health care tips and fitness regime tips, you can subscribe to FREE Health n Fitness Care feed via EMAIL to get instant updates on health and fitness information.