Prostate Cancer

What is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate is a gland found in men located in front of the rectum and below the bladder. It is about the size of a walnut and encircles the urethra, where seminal fluid and urine pass through the penis.

Prostate Cancer is a disease that affects this gland with abnormal cell growth that eventually develops into a tumor. The condition is among the most common cancers to affect American men. The mass may be malignant or benign, and it can grow very slowly over many years without causing any symptoms. This cancer is unique in that it does not always spread to other areas of the body.

What are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

Often diagnosed in the later stages, indications of prostate cancer may include:

  • Discomfort when sitting
  • Weak/interrupted urine flow
  • Straining to empty the bladder
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in seminal fluid and/or urine
  • Frequent urge to go during the night
  • Burning or pain during urination
  • Recent onset of erectile dysfunction

It is important to remember that numerous noncancerous conditions, such as BPH and urinary infections, can create similar symptoms. Likewise, some men may not experience any of these. The best way to know for certain is to be tested.

If the cancer has spread elsewhere, patients might notice:

  • Swelling of the legs or feet
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain in other areas (thighs, back, hips, shoulders, etc.)
  • Change in bowel movements

Prostate Cancer Causes

Just like other types of cancer, the specific cause of prostate cancer is not known. However, researchers have identified some risk factors and are trying to learn more on how they cause prostate cancer.

In most cases, prostate cancer has multiple factors causing it. These factors include exposure to radiation or other environmental toxins, as well as genetics.

Changes in the DNA of a normal prostate cell partly causes prostate cancer. Any mutations or changes in genetic material lead to the growth of cancerous cells. The mutations cause prostate cells to begin growing abnormally and uncontrollably. Eventually, a tumor develops in that area.

Depending on the aggression of the prostate cancer, the tumor may metastasize or shift to another location. Some of these gene mutations are hereditary while others are naturally acquired.

How is Prostate Cancer Treated?

Options vary depending on several factors: location and size of the tumor, the patient’s overall health, and if the cancer has spread.

If caught early, close monitoring may be recommended with treatment beginning if there are indications of the cancer beginning to spread, blocking the urinary tract, or causing pain.In other cases, treatment may include hormone therapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. For later-stage tumors, chemotherapy and vaccine therapy might also be used.

Prostate Cancer Prevention

No certain way of preventing prostate cancer has emerged. The existing risk factors such as age, race, and family background cannot be controlled. However, doctors advise men at potential risk to make abstemious healthy choices that will benefit them.

  • Although there is no clear evidence of a proper diet reducing the occurrence of prostate cancer, it’s believed that it reduces the risk. Choosing a low-fat diet can reduce the possibility of this type of cancer. Avoid and reduce diets with foods such as meat, nuts, and dairy products. Also, consider adding servings of vegetables and fruits.
  • It’s also important to maintain an appropriate body weight. Obese men with a body mass index of above 30 have an increased risk of prostate cancer. Weight reduction is possible by progressively reducing the number of calories consumed daily and gradually increasing exercises.
  • Medicine for prostate cancer prevention. Some previous studies indicate that drugs such as finasteride and dutasteride which are used for inhibiting abnormal growth of the prostate can prevent prostate cancer. However, it’s not clear whether the benefits offset the risks.