Prostate Cancer is the second most common type of cancer affecting men. The risk of getting this disease increases with age and it only affects men. This is a cancer that involves abnormal proliferation of cells in the prostate gland. This is a small organ in the abdomen that is responsible for making seminal fluid. This fluid nourishes sperms and aids in their movement. When affected by cancer, the prostate increases in size due to abnormal multiplication of cells.
Prostate cancer starts slowly and as more cells undergo abnormal multiplication, the prostate increases in size and the cancer cells may move to other body parts. As with all other types of cancers, early detection of this prostate cancer improves the chances of a positive outcome.
How can you know if you have prostate cancer? Be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms. However, it is important to note that having these symptoms does not mean that you actually have prostate cancer. You need to be tested to confirm if you suffer from the disease.
The prostate gland is located near the bladder, the organ that stores urine before it is released from the body. Anything affecting the prostate will affect the bladder. The urine problems that are caused by prostate cancer include:
These symptoms are due to the pressure applied on the bladder by the growing prostate. This affects the volume the bladder can carry and hence the frequent urge to urinate. Pain when urinating and blood in urine are due to the bladder not working as it would normally. It may also be because the tumor is pressing on the urethra (the opening through which urine and semen come out).
Since the prostate gland produces semen, it is an important part of your sex life. Without it working properly, you will surely have a few problems. These include:
The decrease in volume is due to the cancer affecting the cells that produce seminal fluid so the cells are not able to produce it effectively. Difficult in getting erections and painful erections are also due to the malfunction of this gland while the blood in semen may be due to the urethra being pressed on by the growing prostate.
Another symptom associated with prostate cancer is pressure or pain in the abdomen. This is due to the increasing size of the prostate which cause it to press on other organs including the skin.
Prostate cancer also causes pain in hips, thighs, pelvis and lower back. This is particularly true when the cancer has metastasized. This is the movement of cancerous cells from the primarily affected organ, which is in this case the prostate, to other parts of the body. Oedema, fatigue and weight loss are also associated with cancer of the prostate.
You may have all the above symptoms but it does not mean that you have prostate cancer. There are other diseases that affect the prostate including Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy and Prostatitis will cause the same signs and symptoms. How can you really know if it is prostate cancer? Take a test!
The test that will determine if there is a disease affecting the prostate is known as the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). This test checks for the levels of PSA in blood. PSA is a protein that is produced by the prostate gland and elevation in blood indicates that the prostate is not functioning normally. If the PSA levels in your blood are high, a digital rectal examination is carried out and later a biopsy is taken. For the latter, a section of the prostate is removed, either surgically or using imaging methods, and examined for cancerous cells.
Like most cancers, the actual cause of prostate cancer is yet to be identified. The cancer starts when the cells in the prostate change in terms of their DNA material. This is known as mutation and it causes cells to multiply rapidly than they would normally. As the abnormal cells multiply, they replace the normal ones and form a tumor. This tumor grows in size affecting the working of the affected organ and it may spread to other body parts.
How can you prevent prostate cancer? Live a healthy lifestyle that entails healthy eating, frequent exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.
People who are at a high risk of getting the disease should be monitored closely. The risk of getting prostate cancer increases with age and is high for people with family history of cancers. Black race has been seen to have high risk for this disease while obese people are more likely to get a severe form of prostate cancer.
All men should be screened for prostate cancer at least once a year. This can be easily done at your physician's office. If you experience any of the above signs and symptoms talk to your doctor and he or she will help you find out if it is really prostate cancer.
Being diagnosed with prostate cancer is not the end of the world. Many have beaten the disease before and you could too!