Prostate Cancer: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment

Prostate Cancer
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

About Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate of men. The prostate is a small gland shaped like a walnut. It produces* seminal fluid which plays an important role in the nourishment and transportation of sperm. This type of cancer is among the most common in men. It usually grows gradually and at first remains confined to the gland where it doesn’t cause significant harm to the individual. There are also types of prostate cancer that are aggressive and spread quickly. When it is detected early and is still confined to the prostate gland, there is a higher chance for successfully treating it.

About Prostate Cancer

Types Of Prostate Cancer

The most common type of prostate cancer which occurs in more than 90% of cases is called acinar adenocarcinoma which starts from the gland cells of the prostate. Many cases grow very slowly and have a very minimal chance of spreading but there are some that grow quickly. There are also other types of adenocarcinoma like atrophic, colloid, foamy and signet ring carcinoma which are treated the same way as acinar carcinoma. The other types of prostate cancer which are rarer include ductal adenocarcinoma, squamous cell cancer, transition cell cancer, carcinoid, sarcomas and sarcomatoid caners and small cell cancer.

Signs And Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

Signs And Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
  • The need to urinate more frequently especially during night-time.
  • Difficulty commencing urination or controlling it.
  • Weak or interrupted urine flow.
  • Problems in having an erection.
  • Pain or burning* sensation during urination.
  • Blood or semen in the urine.
  • Frequent stiffness or pain in the low back, hip or upper thigh areas.

Causes And Risk Factors Of Prostate Cancer

This type of caner affects primarily older men with about 80% of cases in those over the age of 65. Doctors still do not known the primary cause of prostate cancer but diet is a known contributing factor for increasing* risk. Men who eat high amounts of fat from red meat have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer. Here are the risk factors for prostate cancer:

  • Older Age: The risk of developing prostate cancer increase* as a man grows older. It often affects men older than 65.
  • Being Black: Black men have a higher risk of this type of cancer compared to other races. Also, black men are more likely to have an aggressive form of prostate cancer for still unclear reasons.
  • Family History Of Prostate Or Breast Cancer: If you have family members with prostate or breast cancer, there is a higher risk that you will develop this type of cancer.
  • Obesity: Obese men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to have an aggressive form. This is possibly because they have a higher fat diet compared to men of normal weight.

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Tests And Diagnosis For Prostate Cancer

If there is an abnormality detected through a digital rectal exam (DRE) or Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, the physician may recommend tests for diagnosing prostate cancer like:
Ultrasound: Trans-rectal ultrasound will be used to further evaluate the prostate.
Collecting A Prostate Tissue Sample: If initial tests points to prostate cancer, a prostate biopsy will be done to determine if there are cancer cells present.

Treatments And Medications For Prostate Cancer

Treatments And Medications For Prostate Cancer

The treatment options for prostate cancer depend on factors like how fast the cancer is growing, if it has spread and the overall health of the patient. For men with early stage, treatment may not be needed immediately but close surveillance is usually recommended. Here is an overview of the treatments used for prostate cancer:

  • Radiation Therapy: High powered energy is used to kill cancerous cells. It can be done from outside the body (external beam radiation) or from inside the body (brachytherapy).
  • Hormone Therapy: This stops* the body from producing* testosterone so that cancer cells stop* growing. The testicles can be removed through surgery to stop* testosterone production. Another option is to take medications that stop* testosterone production. There are also medications that stop* testosterone from reaching the cancer cells. This option is for men with advanced prostate cancer to slow down the growth of tumours and shrink cancer cells.
  • Prostate Removal Surgery: The prostate gland can be removed along with nearby areas where cancer has spread. There are several methods available depending on the extent of surgery needed.
  • Chemotherapy: Medication is used to kill cancer cells. This can be used in conjunction with other treatments.
  • Other Options: The other treatments for prostate cancer are freezing prostate tissue, heating prostate tissue with ultrasound and immunotherapy.

Precaution And Self Care

Precaution And Self Care Prostate Cancer

Be careful of alternative treatments for cancer because many of these are not proven* and can even worsen the health condition of the patient. You need to work closely with your physician in order to keep close watch of the cancer’s progress and treat* it in time. It is important to have support* which is available through support* groups for prostate cancer patients.

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Author

Expert Author : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.