Prostate Cancer is one of the most common types of cancers that affect men. Studies by the American Cancer Society show that there are more than 190,000 new cases each year, resulting in 33,000 deaths. While this form of cancer is one of the most treatable, it is important to not downplay this disease and what type of effect it has on the body. Equip yourself with the right knowledge this September with the following useful information.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Cancer is when there is a growth of abnormal cells building up within the body. Prostate cancer, in this case, is when the prostate gland’s cells start to grow exponentially. These prostate cancer cells then spread by popping from a prostate tumor. These cells make their way throughout the body, either through the blood vessels, lymph nodes etc. This type of cancer occurs in 1 out of 9 men of all ages.
Where is the Prostate?
The walnut-sized prostate can be found below the bladder in front of the rectum. Behind the prostate are the glands that make the fluid for semen. At the center of the prostate is the urethra, a tube that funnels the body fluids like urine and semen through the penis. The prostate doesn’t stay the same size all throughout a man’s life. Grown men were observed to have bigger prostates as they get older.
Types of Cancers that Can Start in the Prostate
- Adenocarcinomas – most prostate cancer falls under this. It is when the cancer cells develop from the gland cells.
- Small cell carcinomas – rare form, occurs commonly in smokers
- Neuroendocrine tumors – tumor that can appear on anywhere in the body
- Transitional cell carcinomas – affects the urinary system
- Sarcomas – rare tumors that can occur in soft tissue or bone
Signs and Symptoms
In its early stages, men may not even detect it in their system, which can be detrimental as men who have it may not necessarily know thus not taking action immediately. The following includes the signs and symptoms that one may face during a later stage of prostate cancer:
- Frequent urination
- Blood in the urine
- Wanting to urinate on an empty bladder
- Inconsistent and weak urine flow
- Blood in the seminal fluid
- Painful ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain or burning during urination – less common symptom
- Pain when sitting – caused by an enlarged prostate
All these symptoms don’t spell out cancer right away. Other prostate-related diseases can be considered before drawing the conclusion to cancer. Some causes of these symptoms may also be the result of an infection in the bladder.
This cancer can make its way throughout the body when left untreated. These symptoms will be experienced by men with a more serious stage of prostate cancer:
- Sudden weight loss
- Pain in the back, hips, thighs, shoulders, etc.
- Swelling or fluid buildup in the lower body
- Change in bowel habits
Prostate Cancer Treatment
There are several options when it comes to seeking treatment for prostate cancer.
Radiation therapy is one option where high-energy x-rays are used to kill the cancer cells either internally or externally. Internal radiotherapy is when pellets are surgically placed near the cancer cells to destroy them. External radiotherapy uses a machine outside the body.
Chemotherapy is an option where drugs are administered in the body to shrink the cancer cells and speed their deaths.
Surgery is also one way to go with treating this disease. Doctors will surgically remove the prostate and the surrounding tissue. This is called a prostatectomy.
Myths About Prostate Cancer
If you don’t experience any of the symptoms, you don’t have it
As mentioned, prostate cancer doesn’t manifest itself in the initial stages. Men can very well have it and not realize it until it begins to manifest on the second stage. If any symptoms seem to persist, it is best to seek medical help immediately in order to know sooner rather than later.
Prostate cancer is hereditary
While the odds are a lot higher for a man with a family history at 1 out of 3, it doesn’t necessarily correlate to being exempted from the possibility. 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed once in their lifetime.
Testicular Injuries Can Cause Prostate Cancer
It is a juvenile notion that injuries sustained to the testicles may cause cancer. Though injuries sustained in those areas may be a cause for concern, it does not affect the health of the prostate.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention
Certain considerations can be made when considering the group of men most vulnerable to the disease. In terms of factors out of human control, age is a significant factor. Prostate cancer usually hits men at an older age of 55, though there have been cases of young men affected. The African American Ethnicity is statistically one of the most vulnerable with 1 in 6 chances among the African American community. The reason for this is still unknown.
There is no real way of telling how to actively prevent prostate cancer, though it is shown that living a healthy and active lifestyle may reduce the risk of acquiring it. Obesity is a common factor among some patients with prostate cancer. Smoking may also be a potential factor that increases the risk of getting it. A healthy lifestyle with no vices, a balanced diet, and a modest fitness routine may help reduce the possibility of acquiring it later on in your life.
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Tip
Prostate cancer may be undetectable and can oftentimes be left untreated, but it is still a concern to your overall health. It is best to stay aware and educated on the effects of this cancer and seek professional medical help if you have doubts on your prostate’s health. If you are at that critical age of when this may manifest, it is advisable that you get a test even when you don’t display the symptoms. This will give you peace of mind in the long run.