Overview: What is Prostate Cancer?
Cancer is a very touchy subject. Sometimes it is discussed often and other times, it is kept silent. Although all types of cancer have effected so many individuals and it is not always the easiest subject to talk about, it is that much more important to discuss the ramifications of cancer, prevention tactics and treatment when it is possible. One cancer that is prominent in males is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is initiated when the cells in the prostate gland begin to grow abnormally or uncontrollably. The prostate gland is found only in the male. This gland contributes to the fluid that forms semen in the male. Furthermore, the prostate is positioned beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. The glands that are posterior to the prostate are called seminal vesicles that make up the majority of the fluid for semen. Moreover, some studies have suggested that prostate cancer is a pre-cancerous condition. These symptoms are often detected when a man has a prostate biopsy; which is the removal of small pieces of the prostate to look for cancer.
Did you know?
According to the American Cancer Society, almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas. This means that a malignant tumor has formed from the glandular structures in epithelial tissues. In other words, cells have grown uncontrollably within the prostate gland, spreading to other areas, causing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer can grow at different rates. Some grow and spread rapidly throughout the body but more grow at a very slow pace. Studies have shown that older men that died of other complications, had prostate cancer and did not know it. Although these men had prostate cancer, it did not affect them while they were alive. Some other forms of prostate cancer are sacromas, small cell carcinomas, and transitional cell carcinomas.
Causes and risk factors:
- Age -prostate cancer in men under 40 is unlikely but still possible, 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65, according to the American Cancer Society
- Race – prostate cancer is found to be more prevalent in African American men and those of Caribbean and African descent than any other race
- Location- Prostate cancer is more common in northwestern Europe, Australia, North America and the Caribbean Islands.
- Family history- Prostate cancer, just like many other cancers, appears to be hereditary. Although it is very possible to contract prostate cancer because of your genetic make-up, most prostate cancer cases are recorded from men with no family history of it
Prevention and Early Detection:
- Screenings is one of the best ways to ensure early detection. Although is it not 100% effective, it will increase the chances of your doctor finding the cancer early and treating it accordingly.
- Testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a man’s blood, which is a symptom, is another way to promote early detection
- The Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) is performed when a doctor inserts a lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for any bumps or hard areas that may be a cancer on the prostate
- There is a variety of treatment available for prostate cancer. The treatment you receive is determined by the stage of cancer you have. Overall, your personal preference is a key factor in deciding the treatment you receive
- There are four stages of prostate cancer. Stage one of prostate cancer, where prostate cancers are miniature and restricted to the prostate, can be treated with active surveillance or careful waiting.
- Stage II of prostate cancer means the cancer is still restricted to the boundaries of the prostate, but they are larger than the cells in stage I. If cancerous cells are left untreated in this stage, they are more likely to spread beyond the prostate and present further complications. This stage can be treated with active surveillance as well but radical prostatectomy, external beam radiation and brachytherapy can also treat stage II
- In stage III, cancers are no longer limited to within the prostate. Although the cancers have grown outside of the prostate, it has not yet reached the bladder or the rectum. Treatment for this stage can also include external beam radiation, along with hormone therapy. Radical prostatectomy can be used in this stage. Radical prostatectomy is the removal of the pelvic lymph nodes.
- In stage IV, cancers have begun to grown uncontrollably and have now expanded to areas such as the bladder, the rectum, and some organs. Once you have reached the level of stage IV, the cancer is now incurable but still treatable. Treatments for this stage include, hormone therapy, chemotherapy in some cases, surgery, and bone metastases.
All of this information has been retrieved from the American Cancer society. There is research to support all of the statements listed above. But this does not take the place of your personal preferences and/or recommendations from your doctor or physician. It is important to stay informed about your overall health and do everything you can to prevent life changing events, like cancer, from occurring. Even though some diseases and illnesses are inevitable because of a number of risk factors, it’s never too early to become more educated about the status of your health