Prostate cancer is a serious illness that affects a growing number of men – predominately middle-age and old men – in the world. Around 60% of all prostate cancer cases in the United States happens to men who are aged 65 or over. It is estimated that around 170,000 American men are diagnosed with this medical condition every year.
Prostate is a small gland that is located in the lower abdomen of men, right under the bladder. This organ is regulated by testosterone, a hormone that produces semen. So, when a malignant, abnormal growth of cells happens in the prostate, this process is known as prostate cancer. This cancer may spread to other organs. Currently, prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of deaths from cancer in men in the U.S.
The majority of cases of prostate cancer are caused by adenocarcinoma, which is a cancer growing in the glandular tissue (such one like the prostate gland). Currently, doctors point out two types of prostate cancer (in respect to how fast the cancer grows):
- Fast-growing (aggressive)
- Slow-growing (non-aggressive).
Aggressive prostate cancer can grow extremely fast and quickly spread into other parts of the body, like the bones. In the case of the non-aggressive form, the tumor either doesn’t grow or grows very slowly.
The difficulty of early prostate cancer diagnosis lies in the fact that its early symptoms (oftentimes, these are the urinary symptoms) may be caused by other, less severe diseases (such as prostatitis). Therefore, it is important to see your urologist in case if you experience any of the symptoms described below (but without panicking, seems it may be a less serious condition).
These are the common symptoms of prostate cancer:
- Urinary problems: bleeding while urinating, a stream that’s lower than normal, frequent need to urinate. Since the prostate is located beneath the bladder, a tumor may thus grow on the prostate and press on the bladder, causing problems.
- Sexual problems. Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, may be one of the common symptoms of the prostate cancer. Blood in the semen may be another possible symptom.
- Pain and numbness. This happens when cancer metastasizes to other parts of the body. Commonly, you may experience the pain in such areas of your body like chest, back and pelvis. You might lose your feeling of bladder and legs if the cancer reaches your spinal cord.
Causes & Risk Factors
Currently, doctors and scientists do not know what exactly causes prostate cancer. Yet, even though this sickness may happen to any man, there are certain factors that increase the risk of developing prostate cancer:
- Genetic changes
- Certain ethnicities or race (African American males, for example, are more likely to suffer from this disease)
- A family history of prostate cancer
- Older age.
If you have a non-aggressive form of prostate cancer, your doctor might recommend you to wait and monitor the sickness. This is called active surveillance and means that, while you will delay the treatment, you will have to have regular checkups.
In case your cancer form is aggressive, your doctor may offer you a combination of the following treatments:
- Hormone therapy
- Stereotactic radiosurgery.
There are risk factors – such as age – that cannot be controlled. However, there are things you can do in order to reduce a chance of prostate cancer:
- Quit smoking: as researches have shown, smoking significantly increases the chances of prostate cancer.
- Diet. Such foods may help you decrease the chance of prostate cancer: oils with omega-3 fatty acids, soy, fish, certain vegs like Brussels sprouts, broccoli and kale, tomatoes. On the other hand, the following foods increase the chance of this cancer: grilled meat, red meat, saturated fat, milk and dairy products.
- Exercising. Leading an active lifestyle is likely to decrease the chance of developing an advanced type of cancer or dying from it.