What is Prostate Cancer?
Nowadays males in the United States, commonly suffer from Prostate cancer. But, the good news is it’s highly treatable if detected in the early stages. Prostate cancer begins in the prostate gland that sits between the penis and the bladder.
As per the American Cancer Society (ACS) till the end of 2021, there may be around 248,530 new cases of prostate cancer and approximately 34,130 deaths from this type of cancer. Approximately 1 in 8 males are diagnosed with prostate cancer currently in the United States. However, the good news is only 1 in 41 of these succumbs to prostate cancer due to effective treatment, especially in the early stages.
What is the Prostate?
The prostate has numerous functions, including the production of the fluid to nourish and transport sperm, secreting prostate-specific antigen (PSA) that is a protein helping semen be in a liquid state, and helping aid urine control.
Prostates are located below the bladder, which is the hollow organ to store urine and in front of the rectum. The seminal vesicles gland is located just behind the prostate that makes most of the fluid for semen. The urine and semen are secreted from the body through the urethra connected to the penis. The prostate goes through the center of the prostate.
What Causes the Prostate Cancer?
The cause of prostate cancer is not clear to the doctors and researchers. Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate develop changes in their DNA. The DNA of the cell contains the instructions about their functionality and certain changes in the cells force them to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells. The abnormal cell would continue to live when the normal cell would die.
The abnormal cells would accumulate to form a tumor that can grow to invade nearby tissue. Sometimes these abnormal cells can break away and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Some factors can increase your risk of prostate cancer such as:
Older age: Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age above 50.
Family history: You are at a high risk of developing prostate if a blood relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Also, a family history of breast cancer genes such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 or a very strong family history of breast cancer increases your risk of prostate cancer.
Obesity: Obese people may have a higher risk of prostate cancer as the cancer is more likely to be aggressive and more likely to return after initial treatment.
How to Identify Prostate Cancer?
In the initial stage prostate cancer may cause no signs or symptoms. But, as prostate cancer advances it may cause signs and symptoms such as:
Decreased foar) and dutasteride (Avodart), may reduce the overall risk of developing prostate cancer in the stream of urine
Blood in the urine
Blood in the semen
Losing weight without trying
In rare cases, people with advanced stage of prostate cancer may also show no symptoms. Potential signs may also depend on the size of cancer and where it has spread in the body. In addition to the above symptoms, some uncommon symptoms include:
Unexplained weight loss
How does Prostate Cancer Progress?
The stage of prostate cancer will describe how much cancer is present in the body and how serious the cancer is. Diagnosing the stage of prostate cancer will help the doctors to understand the treatment regime.
Cancer staging is complex and depends on many different factors. The stages of cancer include:
Stage I: Cancer is present only in the prostate gland.
Stage II: Cancer has not yet spread from the prostate, but you will have a higher PSA level.
Stage III: Cancer may have spread to nearby tissues.
Stage IV: Cancer may have spread to distant parts of the body.
How to Treat Prostate Cancer?
The initial stage of prostate cancer may not need treatment right away and the doctors sometimes recommend active surveillance.
Active surveillance includes, regular follow-up blood tests, rectal exams, and prostate biopsies may be performed to monitor the progression of your cancer. If these tests show that your cancer is progressing, the doctor would opt for a prostate cancer treatment such as surgery or radiation.
Active surveillance is also recommended:
For cancer that isn't causing symptoms,
Is expected to grow very slowly
Is confined to a small area of the prostate
For someone who has another serious health condition
A person of advanced age makes cancer treatment more difficult.
The treatment regime of prostate cancer would include:
Watchful waiting or monitoring: The doctor may regularly check for the PSA levels in the blood but take no immediate action. Prostate cancer usually grows slowly, and the risk of treatment side effects may outweigh the need for immediate treatment.
Surgery: This may include radical prostatectomy to remove the tumor along with the removal of the surrounding tissue, seminal vesicles, and nearby lymph nodes. The surgeon can perform this procedure using either open, laparoscopic, or robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery.
Radiation therapy: Radiation is used to kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing. Some of the options for early-stage prostate cancer may include:
External radiation therapy: This method uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer cells. Conformal radiation therapy is a type of external radiation that uses a computer to help guide and target a specific area, minimizing the risk to healthy tissue and allowing a high dose of radiation to reach the prostate tumor.
Internal radiation therapy: Also known as brachytherapy, this method uses radioactive seeds that a doctor implants near the prostate. A surgeon uses imaging scans, such as ultrasound or computed tomography to help guide the placement of the radioactive substance.
The treatment of advanced prostate cancer can spread throughout the body. If it spreads, or if it comes back after remission, treatment options will change. Options can include:
Chemotherapy: The drugs are used to help stop the growth of cancer cells. These drugs can kill cancer cells around the body and may cause adverse effects.
Hormonal therapy: Androgens are male hormones that include testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. Blocking or reducing these hormones appears to stop or delay the growth of cancer cells. The options include surgery to remove the testicles, which produce most of the body’s hormones and drugs can also help.
Immunotherapy: This method uses your immune system to help fight cancer. Doctors suggest various substances and medicines that help boost or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer.
Targeted therapy: This method uses drugs or other substances that identify and attack specific cancer cells.
Prostate cancer is quite common and doctors can detect most cases early with regular screening that can help provide effective treatment. If you are at a very high risk of developing prostate cancer, your doctor may consider medications or other treatments to reduce the risk. Some doctors suggest taking 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, including finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart), may reduce the overall risk of developing prostate cancer.
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If you or anyone you know is suffering from prostate cancer, our expert providers at ASP Cares will take care of your health and help you recover.
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