Prostate cancer is the cancer of the prostate gland, a small walnut-sized gland that produces seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. It is one of the most common cancers in men and is the third leading cause of death after lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
Usually prostate cancer grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. However, while some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.
Prostate cancer detected early when it’s still confined to the prostate gland has a better chance of successful treatment.
TYPES OF PROSTATE CANCER
They are of two types which are;
- Adenocarcinomas: which is the most common form of prostate cancer in men.
It’s not clear what causes prostate cancer.
Doctors know that prostate cancer begins when some cells in your prostate become abnormal. Mutations in the abnormal cells’ DNA cause the cells to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells do. The abnormal cells continue living, when other cells would die. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can grow to invade nearby tissue. Some abnormal cells can also break off and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PROSTATE CANCER
Prostate cancer may cause no signs or symptoms in its early stages.
Prostate cancer that’s more advanced may cause signs and symptoms such as:
- Burning or pain during urination
- Frequent urges to urinate especially at night
- Loss of bladder control
- Decreased flow or velocity of urine stream
- Blood in urine (hematuria)
- Blood in semen
- Difficulty getting an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Painful ejaculation
- Swelling in leg or pelvic area
- Numbness or pain in the hips, legs or feet
- Bone pain that doesn’t go away or lead to fractures
- Weight loss
- Lower extremity swelling
Factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include:
- Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age.
- For reasons not yet determined, black men carry a greater risk of prostate cancer than do men of other races. In black men, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced.
- Family history.If men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be increased. Also, if you have a family history of genes that increase the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2) or a very strong family history of breast cancer, your risk of prostate cancer may be higher.
- Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced disease that’s more difficult to treat.
You can reduce your risk of prostate cancer mainly by Primary Prevention if you:
- Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables
- Choose healthy foods over supplements.
- Exercise most days of the week
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Talk to your doctor about increased risk of prostate cancer.
- Regular Screening
POSSIBLE PRE-CANCEROUS CONDITIONS OF THE PROSTATE
These conditions are sometimes found when a man has a prostate biopsy (removal of small pieces of the prostate to look for cancer).
- Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN):
In PIN, there are changes in how the prostate gland cells look but the abnormal cells don’t look like they are growing into other parts of the prostate (like cancer cells would). Based on how abnormal the patterns of cells look, they are classified as:
- Low-grade PIN:the patterns of prostate cells appear almost normal
- High-grade PIN:the patterns of cells look more abnormal
PIN begins to appear in the prostates of some men as early as in their 20s.Many men begin to develop low-grade PIN when they are younger but don’t necessarily develop prostate cancer. The possible link between low-grade PIN and prostate cancer is still unclear.
If high-grade PIN is found in your prostate biopsy sample, there is about a 20% chance that you also have cancer in another area of your prostate.
- Proliferative Inflammatory Atrophy (PIA):
In PIA, the prostate cells look smaller than normal, and there are signs of inflammation in the area. PIA is not cancer, but researchers believe that PIA may sometimes lead to high-grade PIN, or perhaps to prostate cancer directly.
TESTS AND TREATMENTS
These are some examples of tests to find out if a person truly has prostate cancer.
- Digital rectal exam (DRE).
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.
- Collecting a sample of prostate tissue (Biopsy).
The following are treatments for prostate cancer
- SURGERY: Surgery for prostate cancer involves removing the prostate gland (radical prostatectomy), some surrounding tissue and a few lymph nodes.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy to kill cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy is treatment to stop your body from producing the male hormone testosterone. Prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to help them grow. Cutting off the supply of testosterone may cause cancer cells to die or to grow more slowly.
- Freezing prostate tissue: Cryosurgery or cryoablation involves freezing tissue to kill cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill rapidly growing cells, including cancer cells.
- Brachytherapy: insertion of radioactive seeds directly into the prostate tissue.