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PROSTATE CANCER

The incidence of prostate cancer is seen only in men. The prevalence of this cancer is rare in younger patients, but the incidence of prostate cancer gets higher with the increase of age. Men who are greater than 65 years of age are highly prone to developing prostate cancer.

Among the various prostate cancers among men such as sarcoma, small cell carcinoma, transitional cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma is the most common type causing prostate cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

There are no early symptoms of early-stage prostate cancer, but they tend to be visible in the advanced stages. The common signs and symptoms associated with cancer include:

  • Problems in urination and maintaining consistency in urination
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Weakness and numbness in the legs
  • Loss of control over the bowel and bladder
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Painful ejaculation

Causes

Prostate cancer mostly arises with the increase in age of a person. However, certain genetic changes and mutation in genes controlling prostate cancer are the common causes of prostate cancer.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for prostate cancer are unclear, however, there are certain risk factors associated with prostate cancer. They are:

  • Smoking: Smoking tends to increase the risk of a patient dying of prostate cancer. It can be controlled by quitting smoking.
  • Age: The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. Men who are above the age of 65 are at a greater risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Race: Prostate cancer affects men of all races, but the incidence is higher in men who belong to the races of Afro-American, Caribbean men of African origin, etc.
  • Family History: It is a non-modifiable risk factor, with the patient acquiring or inheriting the cancer genetic factors. Certain genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 are known to increase the risk factor of ovarian and breast cancer. The inherited BRCA2 gene is known to cause prostate cancer in men.
  • Diet: A healthy diet keeps a man healthy and reduces the risk of developing cancer. However, some studies show that food rich in high dairy fat and red meat have increased the risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Inflammation: Certain studies have shown that inflammation of prostate gland has increased the risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Sexually Transmitted Disease(STD’s): STD’s like gonorrhoea and chlamydia are at an increased risk of prostate cancer

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of the prostate cancer begins with the review of the family and personnel. The physician recommends the following diagnostic tests to be conducted.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is one of the first tests in patients with signs and symptoms of prostate cancer.

Transrectal ultrasound: This test is performed by inserting a probe into the rectum, which is directed to the prostate gland. Then vibrations are produced which is recorded in the system. This test is conducted in patients with a high PSA levels.

Biopsy: A tissue sample is collected and is studied under the microscope to detect any changes in the prostate gland tissues.

X-ray: X-ray scan or bone scan is conducted to detect any spread of cancer to the bones or surrounding organs.

Computed Tomography (CT) scan: CT scan provides a detailed image of all the tissues in the body. The test is not necessary for the early stage of prostate cancer. However, the test is only required in an advanced stage of prostate cancer.

Treatment

Surgery: It is the most common procedure to remove the entire prostate gland. Surgery is only performed when there is a risk of cancer spreading from the prostate gland to the other parts of the body. The prostate gland is removed either by radical prostatectomy or by laparoscopic methods.

Radiation: Radiation is the first choice of treatment of prostate cancer patients. It uses the high-energy rays to kill the tumour cells.

Cryotherapy or Cryosurgery: This procedure is uses very cold temperature to kill the prostate cancer cell. It is only used in early stages of prostate cancer.

Hormone therapy: It is also called as Androgen deprivation therapy or Androgen suppression therapy. This procedure reduces the levels of male hormones in the body that provides nourishment to the prostate gland. Androgens tend to stimulate the cancer cell growth in the body.

Chemotherapy: It is the most common mode of treatment of cancer patients. Chemotherapy procedure is followed when hormone therapy is not effective. Chemotherapy is used when cancer spreads to other organs.

Coping and support

In most cases, prostate cancer does affect a person the entire life. It is harmful when cancer spreads to other surrounding organs. Early diagnosis and treatment help one to cope with cancer. The patients should know about the disease condition and the treatments options available, to have a speedy recovery from cancer.

Family and friends support are essential during the treatment period, to maintain an emotional balance of the patient. A good emotional and mental balance helps in speedy recovery of the patient.

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