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Prostate cancer – Causes, symptoms and treatment

prostate-cancer

What is the Prostate gland?

The prostate gland is located below the bladder. It is a walnut-shaped reproductive gland that surrounds the urethra. The urethra is a duct that passes out the urine and semen.  

The prostate gland secretes seminal fluid that supplies nutrition to the sperm and protects sperm during ejaculation. Without the seminal fluid, sperm has a lower survival rate.

What is Prostate cancer?

Cancer can develop in any part of the body, as any of the body cells can grow out of control. When the uncontrolled growth of an abnormal cell starts in the prostate gland then, it is referred to as Prostate cancer.

What are the types of Prostate cancer?

Most of the Prostate cancer is adenocarcinomas. Adenocarcinoma cancer develops when the gland cells that line the organ grow abnormally. Adenocarcinomas are harmful and can spread to other tissues and cells.

In Prostate adenocarcinomas, cancer starts in the cells that secrete seminal fluid. The following are the other types of Prostate cancer.

Small cell Prostate cancer

It is also classified as neuroendocrine cancer. This cancer is a rare and aggressive one that grows more quickly than any other cancer.

Ductal adenocarcinoma 

It is the cell growth that starts in the ducts of the prostate gland. This cancer exhibits high growth and spreading rate.

Transitional cell cancer (or Urothelial cancer)

It starts in the urethra. In uncertain cases, it also starts in the bladder and spreads to the prostate gland. It can also spread to nearby tissues and cells.

Squamous cell cancer starts in the cells of the prostate gland. It is a rare cancer but spreads at a high rate.

What causes Prostate cancer?

Cancer is the result of the abnormal growth of cells that brings damage to other organs, tissues and blood vessels. There is a possibility that certain risk factors or triggering factors cause the cells to grow in abnormal ways. The risk factors include the following.

  • Age
  • Damage to the DNA cell of the prostate cell
  • Hereditary
  • Smoking

What are the symptoms of Prostate cancer?

The signs and symptoms of Prostate cancer always show up in later stages. Pay attention to the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty in urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Poor appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Pain in the areas of lower back, hips, pelvis or thighs
  • Painful ejaculation

What are the stages of Prostate cancer?

The stages of Prostate cancer are classified by the growth of cancer and the severity of its spreading stages.

Stage 1: The cancer cells start their growth.

Stage 2: The growth is faster and spreads all over the prostate gland. It is more likely to spread to nearby tissues and organs.

Stage 3: At the third stage, the cancer cells are fully spread all over the prostate gland, and they may have spread to the nearby lymph nodes or tissues.

Stage 4: The last stage is where cancer spreads to other organs and tissues.

How is Prostate cancer diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Prostate cancer starts with screening.

  • Screening is done to check for Prostate cancer when the symptoms do not show up. The Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal examination (DRE) are the two major screening tests used to check and confirm the diagnosis of Prostate cancer.
  • A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is done to measure the level of PSA in the body. PSA is produced by the prostate gland. In a healthy body, PSA is found in small amounts. The result of PSA blood tests will be of great help to diagnose Prostate cancer.
  • Digital rectal examination (DRE) is a procedure where the doctor puts a gloved finger into the rectum. The prostate can be felt with a finger. So, the abnormal shape of the prostate can be easily diagnosed. DRE cannot diagnose cancer in its early stage.
  • Imagery tests (CT, MRI, PET) and ultrasound are helpful to detect the size, shape and exact location of cancer. It can also provide a clear picture that aids to check the severity of cancer.  
  • A biopsy is a surgical procedure where a sample of cells from the prostate gland will be collected to check for cancer cells.

What are the treatments for Prostate cancer?

  • The treatment mainly depends on the stage and severity of cancer. The other factor that is taken into consideration is the current health complications of the affected person.
  • Prostate cancer treatment includes the following:
  • Radical prostatectomy is a surgical procedure performed by a practiced surgeon. In surgery, the prostate gland will be removed. If cancer has already spread to the surrounding tissues, then cancer-affected tissues, cells and lymph nodes will also be removed.
  • Radiation therapy is the process when strong radiation rays are used to kill the cancer cells and prevent them from recurring.
  • The chemotherapy treatment method uses anti-cancer drugs either through veins or by mouth to kill the cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy or androgen deprivation therapy helps to reduce the growth of the male hormone androgens in the body to stop them from inducing cancer growth.
  • Targeted therapy uses drugs that target the specific cell in cancer that induces the growth of cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy is a treatment method where the immune system is activated to kill the cancer cells.

Does Prostate cancer affect fertility?

The prostate gland plays an important role in fertility, so Prostate cancer and its treatment leave behind side effect that affects fertility. The surgery and other treatments also affect the life span of sperm and reduce the production of semen.

Conclusion  

The best way to make a living out of cancer is to diagnose and treat cancer in its early stages.

It is advisable to consult a doctor at times of emergency and for regular health check-ups. Regular health check-ups benefit in the diagnosis of a lot of diseases at their early stages.

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