Overview of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is a cancer that begins in the prostate. This type of cancer is the most common type of cancer found in men. Prostate cancer typically grows very slow and does not spread to outside of the prostate. Some types of prostate cancer are seen to be more aggressive, however. Treatment is typically successful, especially when the cancer is caught early. The prostate is a small gland, shaped like a walnut in men.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
In early stages of prostate cancer, there are rarely symptoms that are seen. Once the cancer has progressed, then you will begin to experience more symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms are: blood in the urine, blood in the semen, decreased force in the urine stream, losing weight, bone pain, erectile dysfunction, and trouble urinating.
You will want to speak to your physician if you have any of these symptoms, or any symptoms that seem out of the ordinary. You may want to complete a prostate cancer screening.
Causes of Prostate Cancer
There is no real clear cause of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate begin to change their Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). These cells begin to grow and multiply without dying. When these cells do not die, then a tumor forms.
Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer
There are a few factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is most commonly found in men that are over the age of 50 years old. If you are over the age of 50 years old, then you may want to speak with your physician about frequent screening.
There is no real reason, but prostate cancer is more commonly found in black men. Black men are also more often to have an advanced stage of prostate cancer.
If you have a relative that has prostate cancer, then you will also be at a risk. Prostate cancer typically runs in the family.
Obese people are at a higher risk of prostate cancer as well. It is important to maintain a healthy weight in an effort to reduce the risk of cancer.
Complications of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is known to spread to other parts of the body. The most common places for it to spread are to the bladder or through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to the other bones and organs. If prostate cancer spreads to the bones, you will notice pain in the bones or even broken bones. Once the prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body, then there is still a chance that treatment will go well.
Prostate cancer, as well as treatment, can both lead to urinary incontinence. You may want to ask your physician about treatments for urinary incontinence as well.
Erectile dysfunction is a common result of prostate cancer or the treatment. There are also plenty of treatments available to help with this as well.
How to Prevent Prostate Cancer
A healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is essentials. You will want to eat as many vitamins and nutrients for your body as possible. While this is probably not a way to avoid or cure cancer, it is a way to improve your overall health. It is better to eat better than to take the supplements. In addition to eating well, it is also essential that you exercise most of the days of the week. Exercising is essential to your overall health. If you are not currently in shape, then you will want to speak to your physician first. Once cleared to exercise, then start off easy. You may want to start with a light walk and then work your way up. Keep an eye on your weight. If you are currently a healthy weight, then work to maintain it. If you need to lose weight, work closely with your physician to accomplish this.
If you believe that you are at an increased risk of prostate cancer, then speak with your physician. You may want to consider frequent check ups and consider taking certain medications.
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
Frequent screening for prostate cancer is common. It is encouraged that older men begin to do this. A digital rectum exam, or DRE, is a very common test that is done. This exam is completed by your physician inserting a finger into the rectum to exam the prostate. Your physician will be able to feel for any abnormalities that are present.
A prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is done by taking a blood sample from your vein and analyzed with PSA.
If either of these tests come back with an abnormality, then your physician may want to complete additional screenings. An ultrasound may be done with a small probe to evaluate the prostate. Your physician may also collect a sample during this exam. The sample will be analyzed to see if there are cancer cells present.
Once it is confirmed that cancer cells are present in the prostate, your physician may require additional testing to see what stage the cancer is. This type of testing may include a computerized tomography (CT) or a Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Your physician will let you know what type of testing is best for you.
Treatment of Prostate Cancer
If prostate cancer is still in a low stage, your physician may not recommend immediate treatment and in some cases, treatment is never needed. The type of treatment you need will depend on how fast the cancer is growing, your overall health, and the side effects and benefits to treatment.
Surgery to remove the prostate is common if the surgery is confined to the prostate. You may also want to use other forms of treatment in addition to this.
Radiation therapy is done to kill the cancer cells. It can be delivered through external beam radiation or brachytherapy, which is radiation that is placed inside of your body.
There are a few other treatments that your physician may recommend. Freezing or heating the prostate tissue are two other forms of treatment that are done to kill the cancer cells. Hormone therapy is used to stop the body from producing testosterone. Chemotherapy is a drug that is used to kill cancer cells.