What is Prostate – Its Types and Symptoms?
Prostate issues are very common, especially among men above 50 years of age. The prostate is a small male gland, which is located between the bowel and the bladder. The prostate can double in size during puberty, because of the changes in the male hormone testosterone. When the prostate increases* in size later in age, however, it is not normal. In fact, the most common issue connected with prostate is known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH); because of it, the prostate gland is increased in size. There is a great possibility that BPH can become malignant. After diagnosis, the patient can undergo a variety of prostate treatments according to the type of prostate disorder.
There are three common types of prostate gland disorder:
- Prostatitis: It is an inflammation caused by infection in the prostate gland. It causes irregular urination and pain. The prostatitis cancer symptoms may also include erectile dysfunction and blood in the urine.
- Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH): It is an enlargement of the prostate gland that results in some pressure on the urethra, and this interferes with normal urination.
- Prostate Cancer: It is a malignant growth of the gland.
How can a patient tell he may be suffering from a prostate problem? It is known that prostate gland surrounds the tube through which urine exits the body, so if enlarged it can interfere with urination. Also, you can have sleep disturbance because of frequent urination during night. Because of the slow dribbling stream of urine suffered by patients, there can be a feeling as if the bladder is not emptied completely. It should be noted that most of the symptoms of prostate gland cancer are similar to those of BPH.
So, how to deal with prostate issues? There are several methods for prostate treatment. The prostate cancer treatment are most effective when carried out before the disease becomes severe.
There are two types of prostate treatment
- Consisting of invasive procedures(prostate gland surgery, transurethral treatment)
- Consisting of non-invasive procedures (radiation chemotherapy, cryotherapy, HIFU, hormone therapy)
There are two reasons why the prostate gland surgery is performed: prostate cancer and benign prostatic hypertrophy. The surgery is life-saving and it is done when problems with urination do not respond to any medication. Though the prostate gland surgery can rarely cause side effects after the operation, it can help in eliminating the condition. The doctor carefully assesses the effects that the patient may suffer from after the surgery.
There are Several Types of Prostate Gland Surgery
- The first type is the robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy. It is an inpatient surgery performed to treat* prostate cancer. It is done with the help of a special robot, hence the name. The procedure is minimally invasive, done done by using keyhole incision. It is performed under general anesthesia. The gland is removed with the help of scalpel or other similar instrument, and then, is removed completely through the incision. After the removal, the incision is closed.
- The second type is the transurethral resection of the prostate; this too is a very famous procedure. Transurethral resection is commonly done in two ways; during the standard procedure the gland is removed with the use of scalpel, the second method contains electro-resection, which uses an electrified wire loop in the removal of the gland.
Non-invasive procedures in prostate treatment are as follows:
- Radiation therapy is one of the most common ways of treating prostate issues, especially cancer. The radiation, which is used to cure* prostate cancer, is a form of high-energy x-ray. Radiation kills cancer cells, as it damages the DNA of any cell it hits. It can also ionize the water molecules near to the cancer cells, which can result in the appearance of “free radicals”. These free radicals, then, damage the nearby DNA. There is one drawback to this treatment method; the radiation can also damage the healthy cells. Radiation is received in two common ways
1. External beam radiation which is given outside the body, and
2. Brachytherapy which involves a source of radiation implanted into the body.
- Chemotherapy relies on the use of particular drugs throughout the body to kill the abnormal dividing cells. Chemotherapy is systemic and toxic, as it kills rapidly dividing cells. The cells of skin, hair follicle and bone marrow cells are also affected by chemotherapy because they too divide rapidly.
- Cryotherapy destroys the cancer cells through freezing. It is done under either regional or general anesthesia.
- HIFU stands for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound. It uses ultrasound waves, focused onto a small area, to create intense heat at the selected place. The ultrasound waves result in thermal ablation and death of the cells at the selected area. For the treatment of prostate cancer, HIFU is approved in Mexico, China, Japan, Europe, much of South and Central America. It is not approved in the United States
- Hormone therapy is also called “androgen deprivation therapy”. It is known that human body produces different kinds of hormones; some of them are produced in higher levels in men. They are called androgens. Testosterone is the most well-known androgen. Androgens cause prostate cancer cells to grow. Hence the roles of anti-androgen medications, which do not stop the production of androgens, but block their functions in the body.
A serious prostate problem does not necessarily mean a shorter life; there are various ways of prostate treatments, as mentioned throughout the article. The procedures can be invasive, noninvasive and sometime, natural; this relies on each individual case, patient preference and the opinion of the doctor responsible for the case.