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Prostate Cancer: Information on symptoms, treatment and more

  • Posted on- Jul 11, 2015
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Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men that occurs in a man's prostate gland- a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Some prostate cancers grow very slowly and may not cause symptoms or problems for years.

When compared with other forms of cancer, prostate cancer is different because many tumours do not spread from the prostate. There are two types of prostate cancers- Adenocarcinomas and small cell anaplastic cancer. Most of them are Adenocarcinomas.

Prostate cancer generally affects men over 50 and is rare in younger men.

Symptoms associated with prostate cancer

In the early stages, prostate cancer never shows any signs. It is only in the advanced stage when the symptoms start to appear.

Tests and diagnosis for prostate cancer

If your oncologist suspects you of prostate cancer, he may suggest the following tests and procedures to diagnose prostate cancer:
  • Digital rectal exam (DRE): During this procedure, your doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to examine your prostate. If he finds any irregularity, you may need more tests.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: Blood sample is drawn from a vein in your arm and analyzed for PSA. Presence of small amount of PSA is considered normal but a higher than normal level may be an indication of prostate infection, inflammation, enlargement or cancer.
  • Ultrasound: Your oncologist may use ultrasound to further evaluate your prostate when other test results are suspicious.
  • Collecting a sample of prostate tissue: A prostate biopsy will be performed if the initial test results suggest prostate cancer. The tissue sample is analyzed in a lab to determine whether cancer cells are present.

Available treatments for prostate cancer

Immediate treatment may not be necessary for men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. When the cancer advances, the following treatment options can be explored:
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy to kill cancer cells. For prostate cancer, it can be delivered in two ways, (i) external beam radiation and (ii) radiation placed inside your body.
  • Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy is treatment to stop your body from making the male hormone testosterone. Prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone to help them grow. Cutting off the supply of hormones may cause cancer cells to die or to grow more slowly.
  • Surgery: Surgery for prostate cancer involves removing the prostate gland, some surrounding tissue and a few lymph nodes. Cryosurgery: The procedure involves freezing tissue to kill cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill rapidly growing cells, including cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be administered through a vein in your arm, in pill form or both.
  • Biological therapy: Also known as immunotherapy, this procedure uses your body’s immune system to fight cancer cells.

Men recovering from prostate cancer are encouraged to follow established guidelines for good health, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, eating a balanced diet, and having regular cancer screening tests.