Prostate Cancer; causes and its prevention.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancers that affect men.  It is the second most common cause of cancer death among males after lung cancer. Prostate cancer affects the male prostate which is a glandular organ present only in males, it is about 3cm long and lies at the neck of the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate surrounds the urethra which is a dual functioning organ for sperm and urine out of the penis, the prostate gland produces a thin, milky fluid that is added to the sperm at the point of Ejaculation.

Although, older men are expected to have an enlarged prostate, which is a noncancerous condition called BENIGN PROSTATIC HYPERTROPHY (BPH), that causes varieties of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) and disorders.

Cancer occurs when normal cell undergoes transformation in which they grow and multiply without normal control. As the cells multiply, they form a mass called a tumor.
This means that cancer cells invade neighboring tissues due to their uncontrolled growth and may also travel to vital organs through the bloodstream. The process in which cancer spread in this way is called METASTASIS by taking oxygen and nutrient from surrounding tissue.

Causes of prostate cancer.

The causes of prostate cancer is idiopathic (unknown) but there are contributing factors that can increase someone's risk of having prostate cancer which include:
  • Genetic Factors:  Men who have a trait of prostate cancer in their family especially if it is a first degree relative such as a father or brother, are prone to have prostate cancer.
  • Diet: A diet high in fat such as red meat and dairy products has been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
  • Chemical Agents: Exposure to chemicals such as Cadmium has been discovered in the development of prostate cancer, these chemicals can gain access to the body by inhalation or ingestion or any other means.
  • Age: The incidence of prostate cancer increases rapidly after age 50.
  • Race: Research has shown that prostate cancer is more likely to affect black men than white men.
  • Hormones: Endogenous hormones such as androgens and estrogens may also be associated with the development of prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer signs and symptoms.

Prostate cancer may rarely show signs and symptoms in its early stages until is well advanced:
  • Difficulty in urinating.
  • A frequent urge to urinate, especially at nights.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Painful urination.
  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Pelvic region discomfort.
  • Backache, anemia, weight loss, weakness, nausea, bone pain, and rectal discomfort occurs when prostate cancer spreads to the lump nodes and surrounding tissues.

Diagnosis of prostate cancer.

If prostate cancer is detected at the earliest stage there is a better chance of successful treatment. The following diagnosis can detect prostate cancer:
  • Digital rectal examination (DRE): Detects abnormalities in the shape, texture, and size of the prostate gland.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: This test indicates prostate infection, inflammation of the prostate, enlargement or cancer of the prostate gland.
  • Prostate biopsy.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging(MRI).
  • Pelvic computed tomography (CT) scan.
  • Positron emission tomography(PET) scan.

Stages of prostate cancer.

The knowledge of prostate cancer stages can help an individual understand what to expect, and how to make informed decisions about treatment. The Stages are;

  • Stage 0: Precancerous cells are present, but they only affect a small area and are slow-growing.
  • Localized (stage 1):  The cancer is only present in the prostate gland. However, effective treatment is possible at this stage.
  • Regional (stages 2–3): Cancer has spread to nearby tissues.
  • Distant (stage 4): Cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or bones.

Treatment of prostate cancer.

Treatment of prostate cancer is based on individuals' life expectancy rate, symptoms, and size of the tumor. Some types of prostate cancer grow slowly while others grow aggressively. Some of the treatment line for prostate cancer are as follows;
  • Chemotherapy: This involves the use of antineoplastics drugs to kill cancer cells around the body, but it can cause adverse effects.
  • Hormonal therapy: Androgens are male hormones. The main androgens are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. This kind of therapy involves blocking or reducing these hormones appears to stop or delay the growth of cancer cells. One of the options is to undergo surgery to remove the testicles, which produce most of the body's hormones. Also, drugs such as luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists like Leuprolide (Lupron) and Goserelin (Zoladex).
  • Radiation therapy: This treatment option is used in patients with low-risk prostate cancer. The two major radiation therapy in treating prostate cancer are teletherapy(external) and brachytherapy(internal.
  • Cryotherapy: It is the use of low temperatures in medical therapy or the removal of heat from a body part, aiming to decrease cellular metabolism and inflammation and to promote vasoconstriction.
  • Surgery: Surgical approaches such as perineal prostatectomy or laparoscopic radical prostatectomy are done to remove the cancerous tissues of the prostate gland.

Prostate cancer complications.

  • Urinary incontinence.
  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Metastasis: prostate cancer can spread to nearby organs such as the bladder, bones or travel via the bloodstream.

Prevention of prostate cancer.

  • Increase fruits and vegetables consumption
  • Avoid high-fat foods such as products meats and dairy products (milk, egg, cheese, and yogurt).
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Engage in regular physical exercise.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Eat food instead of supplements.

Early detection of prostate cancer can lead to a successful treatment plan. If any abnormalities are noticed in the body, don't hesitate to visit a reputable hospital to make complaints and adhere to treatment plans.

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