Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting men. In fact, one out of six men is at risk of developing it in there lifetime. Luckily, there are various effective treatments available which help reduce the fatality rate to 1 in 36 patients. Although there is help available, it’s still important to understand more about this illness, including what its symptoms and causes are.
What is Prostate Cancer?
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The prostate cancer is just like other types of cancer, characterized by a rapid growth of cells. The prostate gland is an important part of the male body, responsible for producing the fluid in the semen and controlling the muscle contractions during ejaculation. It is found in the bladder and surrounded by the urethra. Although it’s a small part of the body, it can grow in size.
There are many varieties of prostate cancer, but the most common is adenocarcinoma. The condition can be fatal because there are few indicators that a patient has it. An enlarged or inflamed prostate may be an indication, although those are also signs of other conditions not related to cancer. Some men live for years without being diagnosed, and some even die before they know they have cancer. There are no early warning signs, so it’s important to check during an annual screening, particular for men over 50. The exam may include a biopsy, which will determine any changes in the prostate by recognizing the growth of cancerous cells.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Here are some of the most common symptoms of prostate cancer:
- Pain and inflammation: some of the minor symptoms of prostate cancer include stiffness or soreness of the back, abdomen, hips and groin.
- Sexual side effects: men with prostate cancer may experience difficulty maintaining an erection. They may also feel pain when they ejaculate, or they will find blood in their urine.
- Urination: difficulty urinating or a burning sensation while urinating is one of the first indications of prostate cancer.
Causes of Prostate Cancer
There is actually no single cause of prostate cancer. However, there are some risk factors which may increase the chances of getting it, including:
- Age: aging may affect increase the risk of getting cancer.
- Ethnic background: studies show that men with African heritage have a greater risk of the illness than caucasian men.
- Exercise: a lack of exercise increases the risk of developing cancer.
- Diet: a healthy diet provides the body with essential nutrients and antioxidants to neutralize the effects of free radicals.
- Obesity: being obese may increase inflammation and oxidative stress.
Treatments for Prostate Cancer
Some of the most common treatments for prostate cancer include:
Chemotherapy. This may be familiar to you, because it is one of the most common treatments, often used when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Hormone therapy. The goal of this approach is to suppress the androgens, certain hormones that help stimulate the growth of cancer cells.
Radiation therapy. This option is quite popular if the cancer is found early and can still be removed.
Surgery. This will involve a complete removal of the prostate gland and its surrounding tissue, thus getting rid of the source of cancer.
Cryotherapy. This involves releasing cold gases into the prostate gland, killing the cancer cells.
Active monitoring. Closely monitoring the condition is essential for tracking any suspicious symptoms that may arise.