Prostate is a small walnut shaped organ in men that exists just below the bladder. Prostate controls the opening and closing of urethra and helps a man empty his bladder. Prostate also produces seminal fluids that gets mixed with the sperms and comes out as ejaculate.
Prostate cancer is one type of cancer that grows inside the prostate gland. 10% of the men in the US are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. There are two types of tumors that grow in the prostate gland, one being cancerous and the other type being benign (non cancerous).
The differences between malignant and benign tumours in prostate are as follows:
- There is no threat to life of the person.
- They rarely grow back once removed.
- They don’t invade the tissues around the prostate.
- The tumor cells do not spread to other parts of the body.
- They may cause threat to life in some cases.
- They grow back sometimes even after removal.
- They invade the tissues and muscles around the prostate.
- The cancer cells spread to other parts of the body.
The cancerous tumors that arise in the prostate some times, gets detached and spread into the surrounding tissues and muscles around the prostate. In some cases, the cancer cells enter the blood stream and get deposited on different organs such as lymph nodes or bone and start growing in that place. In that stage, the cancer is said to be ‘metastasized’.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
During the initial stages of prostate cancer, the person may not show any symptom at all. When the symptoms starts showing, they may resemble ‘Enlarge prostate or BPH’.
Symptoms of prostate cancer may include:
- Frequent urination
- Decreased force in the urine stream
- Mild pain in lower pelvic area
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Blood in Urine (Hematuria)
- Loss of appetite, loss of weight
- Bone pain
What causes prostate cancer?
The exact cause of prostate cancer is not known. All that is known to the experts is that when cells that grow in prostate become abnormal and keep multiplying endlessly. Of course, this is how the cancer tumors are formed in most of the cases. However, as per experts there are some risk factors that put people at risk of prostate cancer.
Risk factors for developing prostate cancer:
As the age goes up, the risk of developing prostate cancer increases. Especially when men cross the age of 50 – 55, they are are higher risk than those who are in their 40s. Reason being, as the body ages, so does the cells in the body and in prostate. During this process, some get damaged but still keep growing resulting in tumors.
Smoking puts a person at double risk of developing prostate cancer. Smokers who are diagnosed with prostate cancer have higher odds of dying with it.
Maintaining healthy weight not only helps in avoiding prostate cancer but keeps away dozens of other diseases.
In the US, African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer at an early stage. The cancer tumours grow even faster in these men compared to men of other ethnicity. The death rate is also high in this group of men who develop prostate cancer.
Men living in northern Europe and North America are at higher risk of dying with prostate cancer than those living in other parts of the world. Experts believe that this might be because of lack of exercise, poor diet habits, hereditary and the environment they are accustomed to live in.
How to prevent prostate cancer?
- Nutritious diet including vegetables and fruits.
- Maintaining proper body weight. Being overweight and obese puts you at higher risk of prostate cancer.
- Quit or avoid smoking.
Is screening necessary to check for prostate cancer?
Typically good urologists don’t recommend screening for prostate cancer if the person is below 50 years of age or if you have risk factors that can lead to prostate cancer.
Screening for prostate cancer:
- Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) – Your urologist will insert his finger into your rectum (after wearing a glove and applying lubricant to the finger) and check for any abnormalities with the prostate. An expert urologist can easily tell if there any problem with the prostate by feeling the size, texture and shape of the organ.
- PSA – Prostate specific Anti-gen test: This is a blood test. Test is done to check if there are any anti-gens related to prostate in the blood. Very small count is ok but when the count is abnormal or higher than maximum limit that indicates a problem with prostate. Depending on this report, further tests may be advised by your urologist.
Diagnosing prostate cancer
When other tests indicate abnormalities with the prostate gland, your urologist may suggest you to go for any of the following tests which he/she feels right.
- Ultrasound – Transrectal Ultrasound technique is used to create a picture of the prostate using ultrasound waves.
- Prostate Biopsy – a needle will be used to collect tissue sample from the prostate gland. The sample will then be tested for the presence of cancer cells.
- MRI Fusion – a new technology that helps in biopsy and diagnosis of prostate. This technology is being used more and more everyday.
At GAURI – Urogynecology, you meet the best urologists in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. They are highly trained with nearly 30 years of experience treating urological conditions of patients successfully. The clinic has all advanced and latest technologies to diagnose and treat prostate cancer.
Continue reading about Prostate Cancer Treatment at GAURI – Urogynecology Clinic, Chennai