Prostate Cancer

March 4, 2024 by Maria Chege0

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate, which is a wall-nut-shaped gland in males. The function of the prostate is to produce seminal fluid that transports and nourishes sperm. Many prostate cancers grow slowly and are confined to the prostate gland, where they may not cause serious harm. However, while some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. Prostate cancer, when detected early, has a better chance of being successful.

What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?

It’s not clear what causes prostate cancer. However, the following risk factors may play a role:

  • Race: For reasons not yet determined, black people have a greater risk of prostate cancer than do people of other races. In black people, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced.
  • Obesity: People who are obese may have a higher risk of prostate cancer compared with people considered to have a healthy weight, though studies have had mixed results. In obese people, the cancer is more likely to be aggressive and more likely to return after initial treatment.
  • Older age: Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age. It’s most common after age 50.
  • Family history: If a blood relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your risk may be increased. Also, if you have a family history of genes that increase the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2) or a very strong family history of breast cancer, your risk of prostate cancer may be higher.


What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer may show no signs in its early stages.  When advanced, it may cause the following symptoms:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Blood in the semen
  • Bone pain
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Erectile dysfunction

What are the complications of prostate cancer?

  • Metastasis: Spread to nearby organs, including the bones and bladder.
  • Urinary Incontinence: Inability to control passage of urine
  • Erectile dysfunction


How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

  • PSA Testing: This is the most commonly used and most valuable test for early detection of prostate cancer. The likelihood of prostate cancer increases with more elevated PSA values.
  • Age-specific ranges include
  • 40 – 49 years (0 to 2.5ng/mL)
  • 50–59 years (0 – 3.5 ng/mL)
  • 60 – 69 years (0-4.5 ng/mL)
  • 70–79 years (0 – 6.5bng/mL)
  • Digital Rectal Examination (DRE): This involves the insertion of the digit finger into the rectum to assess for prostate enlargement. DRE may detect psotate nodules, induration, or asymemetry that can occur with prostate cancer.
  • Transurethral ultrasound is often used to evaluate abnormalities detected on DRE.
  • Prostate Biopsy: Depending on the findings of DRE, PSA, and prostate ultrasound, a biopsy of the prostate may be recommended. Biopsy is done to obtain tissues for histologic diagnosis. This is the definitive diagnosis for prostate cancer.


How is prostate cancer treated?

  • Active Surveillance: This involves routine tests to check whether the cancer is starting to grow more quickly. If so, active treatment should be initiated.
  • Surgery: This involves the removal of the prostate gland through surgery.
  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation kills cancer cells. Radiation can be given from a machine that moves around the body or from a direct source to the prostate gland.
  • Hormone Therapy: The male hormones are responsible for the growth of the prostate gland. Hormone therapy reduces the levels of the hormones and thus shrinks the cancer. Hormone therapy can be done through the removal of testicles or through medications.
  • Chemotherapy: Advanced prostate cancer requires chemotherapy for complete treatment.

Remember to always seek medical advice from your practitioner.

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