About Prostate Cancer

When cells in the prostate gland show abnormal growth and division, it results in prostate cancer. The prostate is located below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum. It is a part of the male reproductive system. A majority of prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas that develop from glandular cells of the organ. While most prostate cancers grow slowly, few may grow and spread quickly. Due to its slow growth, prostate cancer life expectancy five years after diagnosis is around 98%. The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but a few factors may increase your risk for the condition, such as age over 65 years, race and ethnicity, genetics, familial history, inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, obesity and smoking. The growth and spread of your cancer will help your doctor decide how to treat prostate cancer.

Symptoms

Most people with prostate cancer are asymptomatic, especially in the condition’s early stages. The symptoms of prostate cancer appear when the gland enlarges enough to press on the urethra. In stage 3 and stage 4 prostate cancer, the symptoms may include:

  • Feeling that the bladder is full
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Trouble or difficulty in urinating
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Dull pain in the lower part of the pelvic region, back or neck that won’t go away
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained loss of weight
  • Bone pain
  • Blood in the urine

Though these symptoms are not conclusive of prostate cancer, you must get them checked out by your doctor.

Diagnosis

After symptomatic assessment and physical examination, your doctor may recommend further screening and diagnostic tests to determine prostate cancer treatment options for you:

  • PSA Test: This is a screening test that detects levels of PSA in blood. Screening is testing for a disease before symptoms appear. Since prostate cancer is common in older men, the PSA screening test is conducted as part of their routine health check-up. PSA is a protein produced by normal and cancerous prostate cells. But, a high level of PSA may be a sign of cancer or any other condition affecting the prostate gland.

 

  • Digital Rectal Examination (DRE): The doctor puts a lubricated, gloved finger inside the rectum to feel for any abnormality related to the prostate.

 

  • Biopsy: If the screening tests and physical examination reveal an abnormality with your prostate gland, your doctor may advise a biopsy. A core needle biopsy, transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy or a Transperineal biopsy may be performed to collect a tissue sample, which is sent for further analysis.

 

  • Imaging tests: Transrectal ultrasound scan (TRUS), MRI, CT scan, PET scan and a bone scan may be performed to detect the location, extent and spread of prostate cancer.

Treatment

Your prostate cancer treatment options depend upon the size of the tumour, whether it is

confined to the gland or spread outside, and the age and overall health of the patient. In most men, prostate cancer is diagnosed in its early stages, where it is localised to the gland and has not spread to other parts of the body. At this stage, there are plenty of treatment options available to you.

Standard treatment options used in treating prostate cancer include:

  • Surgery: This is the primary treatment for prostate cancer. Surgery may be followed by adjuvant therapies like radiation or chemotherapy in some cases.

 

  • Radiation therapy: High-energy radiation is used to kill cancer cells. It may be used after surgery or in combination with chemotherapy.

 

  • Cryotherapy uses very cold temperatures to kill cancer cells. It is used when prostate cancer recurs even after radiation therapy.

 

  • Hormonal therapy: Prostate cancer grows in response to testosterone. Hormonal therapy is used to lower or block testosterone production to control the growth of the tumour.

 

  • Chemotherapy: Anticancer drugs are given orally or injected into the body to kill cancer cells. This treatment is used when prostate cancer spreads outside the prostate gland or when hormonal therapy isn’t working.

 Other treatments that may be used in treating prostate cancer include immunotherapy and targeted therapy. 

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