Prostate Cancer is one of the major cancers which cause death among men. It is common in men older than 55 and is prevalent among black people. Most people are still ill-informed about this condition and if you say that you or your friend was diagnosed with it, the first thing they say is: “Prostate what?” And so to help you out, here’s a lowdown on all things pertaining to Prostate Cancer.
What is Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that is found in the prostate which is located in front of the rectum and below the urinary bladder. Prostate also surrounds the urethra, a tube where the urine flows.
What is the Pathophysiology of the Prostate Cancer
The chances of survival of patients who are diagnosed with prostate cancer depend on the size or the staging of the cancer. The cells would first affect the prostatic capsule and will spread along the ejaculatory ducts. When cancerous cells have affected the adjacent part of the prostate and have traveled via the lymphatic system, it will have the ability to branch out in all the tissues of the body such as bone, liver, brain and chest wall thus damaging the organs and tissues of the body. This is now referred to as metastatic prostate cancer. Furthermore, as the prostate gland enlarges, it would compress the bladder leading to obstruction in the flow of urine.
What are the risk factors of Prostate Cancer
The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown although there are certain factors which may put a person more at risks than the other who doesn’t belong to the “risk factors” group and these are
- Men over age 60. The risk is even higher as you get older
- Family history
- Race. This type of cancer is more common in black men and less common in Asians and whites
- Certain prostatic and genome changes. Men who have a high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia level have increase chances of acquiring prostate cancer and certain changes in their genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 poses a greater risk for the disease.
What are the signs of Prostate Cancer
The signs of prostatic cancer usually appear on the advanced stage of the disease some of these are: urinary incontinence, painful urination, weak flow of urine, dribbling, difficulty having an erection, urinary retention, nocturia ( the need to urinate frequently at night), and hematuria (blood in the urine)
How is the Prostate Cancer Diagnosed
A digital rectal examination is usually done in diagnosing prostate cancer. The doctor will insert a sterilized gloved finger inside the patient’s rectum and palpate the prostate through the rectal wall to check for any lumps or hard areas. Prostate Specific Antigen or PSA is also done to check its level in the blood. High PSA levels are usually elevated in patients with prostatic cancer and Biopsy will further confirm the diagnosis.
How is it treated
Management of the cancer depends on the expected life span, age of the patient and the stage of the disease. Patients who are younger than 70 are advised to undergo prostatectomy which is the removal of the prostate gland. It is also effective management in the early stage of cancer.
For patients who are older than 70 years old radiation and cryosurgery is performed to ablate the cancer. Radiation can be used in any stage of cancer and is initiated after the surgery to make sure that all the remaining cancer cells have been removed. If the cancer has returned the next step is to perform a hormone replacement therapy. They work by keeping the cancer cells from getting the male hormones thus preventing cancer cells from growing and surviving. If in case the hormone therapy proves to be ineffective the last step is for patients to undergo chemotherapy. Cytotoxic drugs such as fluoracil, cisplatinm, vindesine, cyclophosphamide and vindesine are used to kill the cancerous cells.
Tips and comments:
While aging is inevitable, you can prevent the diseases and complications that may come along with it if you’ll exert a little effort in being aware of the factors that might put you into great risk, have a healthy diet and active lifestyle.