Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that begins when abnormal cells grow in the prostate gland, which is situated just below the bladder and in front of the rectum in males. The prostate gland produces semen, a fluid that aids in the movement of sperm.
Warning Signs and Symptoms:
Prostate cancer does not show any symptoms in the initial stages. However, some symptoms indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
Feeling difficulty in starting urination
Pain during passing urine
Burning sensation during urination
Blood in urine /semen
Pelvic pain and pressure
The above symptoms may be present in other prostate problems like benign prostate hyperplasia. However, prostate cancer is confirmed through diagnostic tests. Moreover, advanced prostate cancer may show the following symptoms
Body aches/bone pains if cancer has spread to bones
Methods for Diagnostics, Screening, Testing, and Early Detection
Prostate cancer is diagnosed by following screening and diagnostic tests.
Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA): It is a protein produced by prostate cells normally as well as cancerous cells in the prostate. An increase in the level of PSA in the blood indicates prostate cancer. However, PSA may also increase in other conditions like prostatitis and benign prostate hyperplasia. So this test cannot be used as a standard test for the diagnosis of it.
Biopsy: A small piece of prostate tissue is taken to see under a microscope for the differentiation of specific cancer cells and their type it. A biopsy is the most accurate test to diagnose prostate cancer.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This test is done to check whether the cancer is localized or has been spread to other parts of the body. It gives a more clear image, which may also be helpful in the staging of prostate cancer.
Computerized tomography scan (CT scan): This test is also used to see different parts of the body to find any involvement /spread of cancer to other parts by using X-rays.
What are the causes of Prostate Cancer?
As there is no exact or known cause of prostate cancer. However, some risk factors can lead to it. Following may be some risk factors.
People with close relatives like brothers, fathers, and uncles having prostate cancer are at high risk of developing it.
Genetic mutation of BRCA1 AND BRCA2 genes causes breast and ovarian cancer in females. Moreover, these genes double the risk of this in males.
Age: However, people above 50 are at risk of prostate cancer.
Exposure to Radiations: People exposed to radiation for another purpose are at high risk.
Exposure to Chemicals.
Moreover, Some studies suggest that people especially farmers who have continued exposure to pesticides are at high risk for prostate cancer. Also, people working in rubber manufacturing factories and battery manufacturing factories are at high risk.
Some studies suggest that obese people are at high risk of developing prostate cancer. Obesity leads to many inflammatory processes and hormonal changes in the body. However, some researchers suggest that obese people have lower levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in their bodies than non-obese men. Hence, it is not clear.
Treatment Options For Prostate Cancer:
Treatment of prostate cancer depends upon the stage. Staging means how much cancer has been spread. If it is localized or specific to the prostate then surgery and radiation therapy is the first choice. Some types of cancers are confined to the prostate gland and do not show any symptoms, however, those detected in the early stage can have better survival rates and give the best response to treatment. Moreover, some aggressive cancers need treatment as soon as possible.
Radiation therapy: In this therapy, a high beam of X-rays is delivered to kill affected cells. it is given in the early stage. Radiation therapy is given by two methods.
Internal Radiation: Also known as brachytherapy where radioactive material is placed inside the body near the prostate to kill cancer cells.
External radiation: In this type, radiation is delivered with the help of a machine called a simulator from outside the body.
Prostatectomy (TURP). If an aggressive type of cancer is localized to the prostate, it would be better to remove it, so that it could not spread to other parts. Surgery is done after the shrinkage of the tumor by giving radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy: Cytotoxic medicines are administered through a vein that reaches cancer cells through blood circulation to kill the cells.
Hormonal therapy: It is also called androgen suppression therapy. In this therapy level of hormones especially testosterone and di-hydro testosterone is decreased. These hormones nourish the prostate and help in its growth, suppressing the hormones results in the shrinkage of tumors.
Treatment of Metastatic Prostate Cancer:
if cancer is spread to other parts of the body then treatment is given to manage the symptoms and keep the patient comfortable.
Cryotherapy or cryosurgery: In this therapy, your surgeon uses very cold gases injected through a needle into the prostate to freeze the cells and kill them. There is no such research data on this therapy but it helps in reducing symptoms in patients.
Complications of Prostate Cancer:
the patient may suffer some complications even after treatment, which may include.
Bowel control may be impaired: Radiation therapy can have an impact on nerve endings in the rectum or bladder, which leads to bowel control problems.
Less sexual desire: The patient will feel less sexual desire due to damage to sexually active tissues or cells.
Bone metastasis: Cancer may spread to nearby organs through the lymphatic system or blood circulation.
Erectile dysfunction: Erectile dysfunction may occur in patients. It may be due to radiation therapy or hormonal therapy.
How one can prevent prostate cancer?
As the exact cause of this type is not known, some lifestyle modifications can lower the risk.
Avoid exposure to chemicals: Avoid direct exposure or skin contact with chemicals like pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, and rubber and plastic end products that can lower the risk of getting prostate cancer.
Obesity: Maintaining one weight within normal ranges can decrease the risk of it. As idle body weight and an active daily routine make a person physically and mentally fit, an active and healthy lifestyle can lower the risk of many diseases.
Healthy diet: Use a low-fat diet, use more vegetables and fruit in your diet, drink more water, and use less alcohol and other beverages.
Use Antioxidant Foods. These foods eliminate free radicals from the body and lower the risk of cancer.
Early detection and proper treatment are key to curing the disease and allowing people to live long lives. If left untreated, advanced stages can worsen the condition. To prevent prostate cancer, it is important to maintain a healthy diet, exercise daily, and include anti-oxidant foods in your diet. For those with a family history, it is recommended to have a proper PSA level check at least once a year. It is also beneficial for affected individuals to connect with prostate cancer support groups for additional assistance.