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Prostate cancer

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The prostate is a small gland, shaped a little bit like a walnut, the rests in the male reproductive system and is responsible for producing semen. Cancer of the prostate, which is on the rise, is the attack of cancerous cells which attack this gland. Prostate cancer and an enlarged prostate are not the same condition, although one can be related to the other. Prostate cancer carries a high survival rate, although early detection is the key to a better chance of survival. Prostate cancer is a threat to men both in its ability to end life, but it considered a sexual prowess threat, as impotent and erectile dysfunction are often associated with prostate cancer.

PROSTATE CANCER SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

In the earliest stages of prostate cancer there aren’t likely to be any symptoms, which is why it is important for patients to get annual check ups. As the cancer develops symptoms may include painful urination, weak stream, a chronic urge to urinate, the inability to empty the bladder, difficulty starting a stream, pain in the pelvic region, blood in the urine, a urine stream that starts and stops, painful ejaculation, loss of appetite, weight loss, a general feeling of illness, pain in the upper thighs, the lower back, or the hips, frequent night time urination, and persistent bone pain.
Prostate cancer
Image: Prostate cancer

PROSTATE CANCER CAUSES

Cancer is caused by cells that develop at an abnormal rate or for whatever reason refuse to die. Typically cancer cells multiply at a rate three to four times the rate of healthy cells. While some cancers can be directly linked to environmental factors, heredity, or other obvious risk factors, prostate cancer doesn’t seem to have these factors in common. While some scientists believe that diet, heritage, and race play a role in prostate cancer, they are certainly not determining factors. We know, for instance that smoking causes lung cancer, but smoking does not cause prostate cancer.

PROSTATE CANCER RISK FACTOR

Risk factors for prostate cancer are limited, as prostate cancer doesn’t have any specific cause. However, the chances of getting prostate cancer after the age of 50 increase dramatically. There seems to be a link between immediate family members and prostate cancer, and African American men are more likely to contract the disease as well as perish from it. A high fat diet and obesity tends to increase the likelihood of contracting prostate cancer, as does having a previous sterility surgery such as a vasectomy. Men with prostate cancer also have higher than average levels of testosterone, which may be a risk factor or may be related to having the cancer.

PROSTATE CANCER DIAGNOSIS

Men over the age of 45 should have an annual prostate examination since this is the key to early detection. Men with a family history of prostate cancer should begin their annual examinations earlier. Prostate exams include a rectal examination, as well as a prostate specific antigen blood test. If either of these two tests cause any type of concern, a physician will then order a transrectal ultrasound, which will used ultrasound waves to take a picture of the prostate via the rectum. A prostate biopsy can then determine if any abnormalities are cancerous.

In the event of malignant cells in the biopsy, it is important to determine if the cancer is centralized or if it has spread. Bone scans, CT scan, ultrasounds, MRIs, and a lymph node biopsy can help determine whether the cancer has spread and if so into what regions of the body.

There are 4 stages of cancer. Prostate cancer is staged by its severity, which also helps to determine a prognosis. Stage 1 means that there are no symptoms and the cancer is confined to the prostate. Stage 2 indicates that the cancer is presenting with symptoms but is confined to the prostate. Stage 3 means the cancer is in the early stages of spreading, and stage 4 indicates that the cancer has spread and is now attacking other organs.


Complications from prostate cancer may include erectile dysfunction, pain, urinary problems, incontinence, the spreading of the cancer, depression, and general illness. Treating prostate cancer can also lead to complications, such as a suppressed immune system.

PROSTATE CANCER TREATMENT

Prostate cancer treatment options are likely to include radiation treatments, chemotherapy, and surgical options. Radiation and chemotherapy can also be used in conjunction with surgical options to be sure that the cancer has been terminated. In many cases, provided that the cancer has not spread, surgical removal of the prostate means that it is likely the cancer can be completely removed. Often following up with a round of chemotherapy and radiation are fail safe measures to ensure the cancer is gone.

While chemotherapy and radiation will make a patient feel ill and are likely to cause a certain amount of illness, they are still optimal options for treating prostate cancer. Prostate cancer victims typically prefer to have the cancer eliminated from their body as quickly as possible and then enter treatment for erectile dysfunction and incontinence issues.
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