Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in a man's prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly
Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. But more advanced prostate cancers can sometimes cause symptoms, such as:
- Problems urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night.
- Blood in the urine
- Trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas of cancer spread to bones
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord.
It is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, although a number of things can increase your risk of developing the condition. These include:
Age – risk rises as you get older and most cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years of age.
Ethnic Group -prostate cancer is more common among men of African-Caribbean and African descent than in men of Asian descent.
Family history – having a brother or father who developed prostate cancer under the age of 60 seems to increase the risk of you developing it. Research also shows that having a close female relative who developed breast cancer may also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
Obesity – recent research suggests that there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer.
Exercise – men who regularly exercise have also been found to be at lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Diet – research is ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer. There is evidence that a diet high in calcium is linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
In addition, some research has shown that prostate cancer rates appear to be lower in men who eat foods containing certain nutrients including lycopene, found in cooked tomatoes and other red fruit, and selenium, found in brazil nuts.
Tests that Examine the Prostate and Blood are used to detect (find) and Diagnose Prostate Cancer.
The following tests and procedures may be used:
- Physical exam and history
- Digital rectal exam (DRE)
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test
- Transrectal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) .
Depending on the situation, the treatment options for men with prostate cancer might include:
- Expectant management (watchful waiting) or active surveillance
- Radiation therapy
- Cryosurgery (cryotherapy)
- Hormone therapy
- Vaccine treatment
- Bone-directed treatment
Surgery is a common choice to try to cure prostate cancer if it is not thought to have spread outside the gland (stageT1 or T2 cancers). The main type of surgery for prostate cancer is known as a radical prostatectomy. In this operation, the surgeon removes the entire prostate gland plus some of the tissue around it, including the seminal vesicles. A radical prostatectomy can be done in different ways.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells. Radiation may be used:
The 2 main types of radiation therapy are external beam radiation and brachytherapy (internal radiation). Both appear to be good methods of treating prostate cancer, although there is more long-term information about the results with external beam radiation
Chemotherapy (chemo) uses anti-cancer drugs injected into a vein or given by mouth. These drugs enter the bloodstream and go throughout the body, making this treatment potentially useful for cancers that have spread (metastasized) to distant organs. Chemo is sometimes used if prostate cancer has spread outside the prostate gland and hormone therapy isn’t working. Chemo is not a standard treatment for early prostate cancer, but some studies are looking to see if it could be helpful if given for a short time after surgery. Doctors give chemo in cycles, with each period of treatment followed by a rest period to allow the body time to recover. Each cycle typically lasts for a few weeks.
Hormone therapy is also called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) or androgen suppression therapy. The goal is to reduce levels of male hormones, called androgens, in the body, or to stop them from affecting prostate cancer cells. The main androgens are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Most of the body’s androgens come from the testicles, but the adrenal glands also make a small amount. Androgens stimulate prostate cancer cells to grow. Lowering androgen levels or stopping them from getting into prostate cancer cells often makes prostate cancers shrink or grow more slowly for a time. But hormone therapy alone does not cure prostate cancer.
If prostate cancer grows outside of the prostate gland itself, it often first grows into nearby tissues or spreads to nearby lymph nodes. After this, prostate cancer nearly always spreads to the bones. Bone metastasis can be painful and can cause other problems, such as fractures (breaks) or high blood calcium levels, which can be dangerous or even life threatening.
If the cancer has grown outside the prostate, preventing or slowing the spread of the cancer to the bones is a major goal of treatment. If the cancer has already reached the bones, controlling or relieving pain and other complications is also a very important part of treatment.
Previously described treatments, such as hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and vaccines may help with this, but other treatments more specifically target bone metastasis and the problems it may cause. Bisphosphonates.