A vital component of the male reproductive system, the prostate is a small gland between the bladder and penis in the pelvis. Sudden enlargement of this prostate gland can lead to prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death among men in the US, with estimates suggesting, in 2022, around 268,490 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in the US. Although this disease's exact causes are unknown, being overweight can increase a man's risk of developing more advanced prostate cancer. Therefore, it’s important to learn more about prostate cancer, its symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention.
Although early-stage prostate cancer usually does not cause symptoms, there can still be some warning signs present. Being aware of these signs can help you keep track of any potential issues with your health.
The frequency of urination, urgency, slow flow rate, difficulty in starting, and incomplete emptying of the bladder can all indicate a prostate problem. Although these symptoms do not always mean there is prostate cancer, having your prostate checked is a good idea if you notice that your urine flow is either weak or slow.
Blood in the urine is another sign that your prostate cancer is likely to be more serious. Having this checked out is also important to prevent other health issues.
The condition exhibits blood in the semen. It is usually painless and can be harmless. However, several situations, like a recent prostate biopsy or a significant trauma, can trigger this.
Men with prostate cancer might experience sudden erectile dysfunction due to the local spread of cancer. Painful or decreased volume of ejaculation and loss of erection are all underlying conditions of the disease.
As prostate cancer progresses, it can cause pain in the lower back, hips, or chest. It can also cause numbness in the feet or legs. Many people get a diagnosis before experiencing these symptoms.
Although the exact causes of prostate cancer are unknown, several factors can affect the development of this disease. Some of these include exposure to radiation and chemicals. Mutations in your genetic material or DNA can also cause the development of cancerous cells. These changes can cause the cells in your prostate to grow uncontrollably. Later, these cells divide and continue to grow until a tumor forms. If the cancer cells are aggressive and may eventually spread to other parts of your body.
Several factors increase a man's chances of developing prostate cancer. Although having multiple risk factors does not automatically result in the development of the disease, it is prudent that men get prostate cancer screenings.
Although prostate cancer is less common in younger men, the likelihood of a man developing prostate cancer increases significantly after age 50. About 6 in 10 cases of this disease are in men over 65.
The American Cancer Society states that African-American and Caribbean men are more prone to developing prostate cancer than their white counterparts. They also tend to be younger when they get the disease. It is unclear why these ethnic and racial variations in the incidence of the disease occur.
In some cases, prostate cancer can run in families. A genetic or inherited factor could be at play. However, most cases of prostate cancer are not hereditary.
A patient’s brother or father diagnosed with prostate cancer doubles the chances of getting this disease. Men with several relatives affected by the illness are also vulnerable to developing the disease.
Some inherited features that can increase a man's risk of getting the disease include changes to the genes known as the BRCA1 and the BRCA2. Lynch syndrome also increases a man's risk of getting prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is prevalent in North America, Australia, and the Caribbean. It is less prevalent in other regions such as Asia, Africa, South America, and Central America.
If you notice these symptoms of prostate cancer, then one of the following tests can help diagnose it.
The prostate produces a protein known as prostate-specific antigen in blood and semen. A blood test, which measures nanograms per milliliter, can help identify the presence of prostate cancer.
A digital rectal exam is a type of physical exam that involves inserting a finger into your rectum to check for any abnormalities. It helps to detect prostate cancer at its earliest stage.
A prostate biopsy is a procedure performed by a doctor to check for the presence of cancer cells. It involves using a needle to remove the tissue.
Treatment options for prostate cancer differ depending on the disease stage. However, the two main options are surgery and radiation. Other minimally invasive surgery methods can also help prevent the disease from spreading.
A radical prostatectomy is a type of surgical procedure that involves removing the entire prostate gland. It can cause side effects like incontinence and sexual dysfunction.
Depending on your cancer type, there are several radiation treatments available. One of these is Brachytherapy, a therapy involving the insertion of radioactive pellets into the prostate tissue. Another method known as external beam radiation helps treat patients with advanced prostate cancer. Radiopharmaceuticals will target specific cancer cells in both methods.
It involves suppressing the production of androgens, which are male hormones that help the growth of cancer cells. And is Ideal for treating patients with recurrent or advanced prostate cancer.
A relative survival rate measures how likely it is that people with the same type of cancer will live for five years compared to the population as a whole. For instance, if the 5-year survival rate for prostate cancer is 90%, then men who have that cancer are about 90% more likely to live for five years than those who don't.
There are four stages of prostate cancer:
It involves a small amount of local cancer and usually has a high survival rate. A lower PSA level also marks this stage.
The cancer is confined to the prostate and has not spread to other body parts. It can appear on ultrasound imaging, though a doctor may not be able to feel it during a prostate exam. The overall survival rate is still high in this stage.
The prostate cancer cells may have spread outside the prostate. The overall survival rate for men with this type of cancer is 80%.
The disease usually spreads to other body parts; the 5-year survival rate is only about 30%.
Even though getting diagnosed with cancer can be distressing, knowing that there are effective treatments and survival rates can help ease the symptoms. Dr. Madhu Prasad has over 30 years of experience performing world-class screening and surgical procedures on his patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. From radiation therapy to surgeries, our team of expert doctors can take care of the whole treatment plan for your needs.
At Far North Surgery, our goal is to provide the best cancer treatment to our patients. Through our state-of-the-art surgical oncology facility in Anchorage, Alaska, we can offer comprehensive and personalized care for those diagnosed with various internal disorders and cancerous tumors. We also perform advanced surgical procedures to help our patients return to a more normal life. Contact us now to speak with our experts.