Prostate Cancer 101: A Primer

by Fred Jones
Prostate Cancer 101: A Primer

Prostate Cancer is a chronic disease most common in the United States and the rest of the world. It’s the second most frequent detected illness in men, as well as the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

Erectile dysfunction and urinary tract infections are two of the disease’s most prominent side effects. However, due to medical advances, these symptoms are less intense and easier to treat than they were previously.

It is possible to treat prostate cancer if it is detected early. Before we get into the specifics of prostate cancer and the effects and symptoms of a diagnosis, let’s take a look at the prostate.

 

What is the prostate?

 

The prostate is an organ that contains some of the sperm-transporting fluid throughout ejaculation. Its task is to generate and remove a liquid that sustains and preserves sperm when these travel from an egg to fertilize it.

The following are the three most prominent prostate issues:

  • Prostate Cancer
  • Prostate Inflammation – a.k.a Prostatitis
  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) a.k.a Prostate Enlargement

There are many misconceptions about this gland that can affect the lives of millions of people. Despite its vital use in reproduction, we usually only learn about the prostate when it causes problems, which it often does.

 

What are the Types of Prostate Cancer?

 

The majority of occurrence of prostate cancer is called “Adenocarcinomas” – which is a form of cancer. Prostate cancer is a kind of disease that happens in a gland’s tissue, such as the prostate gland.

Prostate cancer is often categorized based on how easily it progresses. It grows in two types:

  • fast-growing or aggressive
  • slow-growing or non-aggressive

Non-aggressive prostate cancer has a tumor that does not grow or grows quite slowly over time. Aggressive prostate cancer is cancer that spreads quickly across the body, including the bones.

 

Who is at Risk of having Prostate Cancer?

 

Although any man can get prostate cancer, certain factors increase the chances of getting it.

These are some of the risk factors:

  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Old age
  • Changes in genetics
  • A history of prostate cancer in the family
  • African American males, for example, are more likely to develop prostate cancer

What are the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer?

 

Prostate cancers also develop gradually and may not give symptoms for years or even decades. For this reason, many men go undiagnosed with prostate cancer. Early-stage cancers (I and II) rarely produce symptoms, and that is why the majority of cancers observed on screens are in asymptomatic men.

Prostate cancers can also cause symptoms by rapidly spreading to other parts of the body (metastasizing). Prostate cancer most often advances to the bones, including the ribs and spines. Burning pain is the most constant symptom in these situations, which may occur in any position and is often worse at nighttime. Blood in the sperm or urine, loss of weight, numbness in the legs, and pushing on the spinal muscle are the typical signs of prostate cancer.

Symptoms that are usually connected with prostate cancer can also be caused by a variety of other health diseases that have little to do with the condition. BPH, for example, is a common cause of urination problems. Erectile dysfunction is one of the factors, including smoking cigarettes, cardiovascular disorder, diabetes, and aging.

Simply stated, a man’s symptoms alone are inadequate to diagnose prostate cancer. Regardless of the cause, none of these signs should be treated as “normal” and should be consulted with your doctor for proper treatment right away.

 

How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

 

Prostate cancer screening generally consists of two basic assessments:

  • PSA a.k.a Prostate-Specific Antigen Test. A PSA examination involves taking a sample of blood from the patient’s arm and analyzing it to assess the PSA level. PSA is a protein formed by the cells of the prostate gland. More PSA is released if there is a problem with the prostate. Through this method, it determines the development and production of cancer cells.
  • DRE a.k.a Digital Rectal Exam. During this examination, your healthcare professional detects the prostate with a gloved finger inserted into the rectum during this procedure. This relatively simple out-patient procedure aims to assess the prostate gland’s dimensions, thickness, and quality. It can also help the healthcare provider in the appropriate direction when paired with a PSA blood analysis, avoiding the need for more expensive and invasive diagnostic tests.

Screening Recommendations

 

In several ways, medical associations provide somewhat different prostate cancer screening guidelines using PSA.

The following recommendations have been given by the American Urological Association (AUA):

  • For men under the age of 40 Screening for prostate cancer is not advised.
  • Screening can be performed on an individual basis, taking into account prostate cancer risk factors (40-54 years old men).
  • When determining whether or not to scan for prostate cancer, men should consult with their doctors and make a joint decision (Men aged 55-69 years old).
  • Screening for prostate cancer is not advised. Prostate cancer screening could be beneficial for certain men who are in good health (aged 70 and up).

The USPSTF a.k.a US Preventive Services Task Force now recommends men between the ages 55 to 69 to make choices on whether or not to get a PSA examination. The potential benefits of PSA-based testing for men aged 70 and up, according to the USPSTF, do not exceed the expected risks.

 

Treatment Alternatives

 

With so many treatment options for prostate cancer, it’s possible to get confused. You and your healthcare provider would need to weigh a few factors before deciding on the best way to proceed or whether to take measures at all.

These factors include the tumor level, treatment adverse effects such as urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction and the person’s health condition and age, as well as his values and goals.

 

Consult a Trusted Physician

 

Prostate cancer is a possibility for all men as they age, but the prognosis is usually pretty good if detected and diagnosed early. When you get older, make sure to talk openly with your doctor about your risk factors.

If you have any symptoms that may suggest prostate cancer, consult a physician right away. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can try to live a healthier lifestyle to lower your risk.

 

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