Prostrate Cancer

Overview of Prostrate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It can be benign or malignant with aggressive symptoms. In Pakistan, 1.1 men out of 25,000 have prostate cancer.

Malignant growths are:

  • Sometimes a threat to life
  • Spreadable to organs and tissues
  • Metastasize
  • Sometimes removable

Prostate cancer can spread through blood vessels and lymph nodes to other parts of the body. In these cases, cancer cells can develop a tumor in other parts of the body as well.
The cells that spread have the characteristics and properties of prostate cancer. If they spread to the bone, for instance, it will be treated as metastatic prostate cancer, not bone cancer.

Prevalence of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer develops more in older men of African-American ethnicity. At least 1 in 9 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
Prostate cancer in Pakistan occurs in 5.4 percent of men out of 100,000 with a frequency of 3.1 percent.

Doctors Treating Prostrate Cancer

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Signs and Symptoms of Prostrate Cancer

Early-stage prostate cancer may be hard to detect. Later-stage symptoms include:

 

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Blood in semen and urine
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Discomfort in the pelvis
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Bone pain

The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system. The prostate is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It produces fluid that makes up part of the semen and nourishes it. In adults, it is about the size of a walnut.
Prostate cancer (پروسٹیٹ کینسر) is cancer that develops in the prostate. It is the most common type of cancer that affects men. It is slow-growing cancer that initially is confined to the prostate gland.
Some prostate cancers may not be too harmful and can be treated effectively but some of them act aggressively and can metastasize. Early detection of cancer is essential for successful treatment.

Benign growths such as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in the prostate are:

  • Not a threat to life
  • Non-spreading
  • Non-tissue invasive
  • Removable and can regrow slowly rarely

 

Causes of Prostrate Cancer

The exact reason for any cancer is still a mystery. It has been found that 1 in 3 men have some cancer cells in their prostate. It may be caused by some DNA mutations or due to certain genes.

Risk factors for prostate include being listed as follows:

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Geographic location
  • Diet
  • Obesity
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Risk Factors of Prostrate Cancer

The exact reason for any cancer is still a mystery. It has been found that 1 in 3 men have some cancer cells in their prostate. It may be caused by some DNA mutations or due to certain genes.

Risk factors for prostate include are listed as following:

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Geographic location
  • Diet
  • Obesity

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Prevention

Having a few or even several risk factors doesn't mean that you have the disease. However, it is very important to notice the changes that you feel and take them seriously. There are several factors that you need to notice:

  • Age: It is very rare in men who are younger than 40 years of age. But the chances rise rapidly after the age of 50. About 6 in 10 cases are found in men who are older than 65.
  • Race/Ethnicity: Prostate cancer develops more in African-American people than people of any other race. When it develops in these men they tend to be younger. The reasons for these ethnic and racial differences are not clear.
  • Family History: Prostate cancer does run in some families which means that  they are inherited or there is genetic factor linked to it. Having a father or a brother with prostate cancer doubles the risk of you suffering from it.
  • Genetic Changes: Several inherited gene changes can seem to raise the risk of prostate cancer. But they account for a small percentage of cases overall.

Health Complications of Prostate Cancer

The complications usually occur once the prostate has become large enough to disturb the function of the urethra. Some of the complications that eventually arise are:

  • Urinary Incontinence: Prostate cancer can affect the urethra and bladder and cause varying degrees of incontinence starting from occasional leakages to complete loss of bladder control.
  • Erectile Dysfunction:  Both the treatment and the chemotherapy can damage the nearby nerves to the prostate that play a role in controlling erections.
  • Recurrence of the Cancer: Another major complication is the recurrence of the tumour growth after the successful treatment and cancer remission.
  • Spread of metastatic cancer: The cancer can spread beyond the prostate and can enter into the other organs of the body. This usually occurs at a later stage (stage IV).
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Diagnosis

There are two approaches for finding prostate cancer:

  • Screening

Men are screened for prostate cancer, even if they don’t show any symptoms. The doctor discusses the benefits and risks of screening

Screening tests include:

  • Digital Rectal Exam: Rectum is checked for any abnormalities such as texture, shape, or size of the gland.
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen Test: a blood sample is taken and the presence of PSA is checked. A higher level indicates infection in the prostate and cancer.
  • Diagnosis

If the screening comes back positive, further tests are done to confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer. These tests include:

  • Ultrasound
  • Prostate tissue sample collection
  • MRI fusion

Tests to check the spread of cancer include:

 

Men who already are at a greater risk of getting prostate cancer can still avoid it by making some lifestyle changes and healthy diets.

  • Reduce Fat Intake: Eat less trans fats and saturated fats. Focus on healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids from nuts and fish.
  • Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: Incorporate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including leafy greens. The antioxidant lycopene, which is plentiful in cooked and processed tomatoes, has been shown in studies where it slowed down the growth of prostate cancer.
  • Add Green Tea or Soy: Soy may lower PSA levels and that green tea may help men who are at high risk of prostate cancer lower their risk.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Exercise regularly to achieve a healthy weight. Exercise also improves the immune system.
  • Stop Smoking and Drinking: Quit smoking as it can improve health in many ways. It lowers the risk of certain types of cancer including prostate.

Treatment of Prostrate Cancer | When to Consult a Doctor

Treatment depends on the spread of cancer and the health of the patient. Immediate treatment might not be recommended in the very early stages. In these cases, surveillance is done in two phases:

  • Active surveillance
  • Watchful waiting

Treatment methods include:

  1. Localized Therapy

Localized therapy is the treatment of a limited area of the body or some specific organs. This includes:

  • Surgery: This includes removing the prostate gland along with a few surrounding tissues and lymph nodes.
  • Radiation Therapy: High-powered beams are used to kill cancer cells. This can be done externally as well as internally. 
  • Cryotherapy: This is the controlled freezing of the prostate gland. Freezing destroys cancer cells. This is done for non-surgery and non-radiotherapy individuals. 
  • Focal Therapy: Sound waves are used to target and superheat the tumor to kill the cancer cells.
  1. Systemic Therapy

Systemic therapy includes:

  • Hormonal Therapy: This is done by surgery or by using medication. It is also called Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT). Prostate cancer cells are starved of testosterone. 
  • Chemotherapy: it is used for advanced-stage cancer. Drugs are given via an IV and some are taken orally.
  • Immunotherapy: This therapy stimulates the immune system into attacking the cancer cells. This therapy is still in the stages of clinical trials.

If any of the symptoms mentioned are recognized in the patient, immediate consultation with an oncologist is needed. The patient might be put under surveillance or therapy might be started depending on the stage of cancer.