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Prostate Cancer - Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

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Prostate cancer

The prostate gland is situated below the urinary bladder in men. Prostate cancer occurs when cancerous (malignant) cells develop in the tissues of the prostate. It is the most common type of cancers found in men. It normally occurs to men aged above 50 years and the risk increases with the increase in age. It can also spread to local tissues around the prostate, to lymph nodes and distant sites and mostly to bones.

Symptoms:

The symptoms are not different from the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate in the initial stages. But when it comes to advanced stage additional symptoms might occur. Let’s see some of the symptoms:

  • Frequent Urination
  • Facing difficulties in starting or stopping when trying to urinate or urinating
  • The constant need for urination especially at night
  • A painful or burning sensation while urinating or ejaculating
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain, hip pain or pelvic pain

Causes:

The exact causes of prostate cancer are unknown but the following factors will increase the risk of having one:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Swelling or inflammation of the prostate
  • Obesity
  • Eating high fatty food
  • Smoking
  • Low level of Vitamin D

Treatment:

If the cancer is small and localized, the following treatment will be carried out:

  • Watchful waiting or monitoring: PSA blood levels are regularly checked but there is no immediate action. The risk of side effects sometimes outweighs the need for immediate treatment for this slow-developing cancer.
  • Radical prostatectomy: The surgical removal of the prostate. Traditional surgery requires a hospital stay of up to 10 days and it needs three months to recover. Robotic keyhole surgery involves shorter hospitalization but comes with a long recovery period and also more expensive.
  • Brachytherapy: Radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate to deliver targeted radiation treatment.
  • Conformal radiation therapy: Radiation beams are shaped so that the region where they overlap is as close to the same shape as the organ or region that requires treatment. This minimizes the exposure of healthy tissue to radiation.
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy: Beams with variable intensity are used. This is an advanced form of conformal radiation therapy.

In the early stages, the patients may receive radiation therapy combined with hormone therapy from 4 to 6 months. However, each individual is unique and the treatment will be based on their individual cases.

Additional Read: Prostate Cancer: Survival rate, Surgery & Procedure, And Treatments

When the cancer is more aggressive i.e. it has spread to other parts of the body then chemotherapy is recommended to kill the cancer cells around the body. Another treatment is Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT). This is a hormone treatment and it reduces the effect of androgen which stimulates the growth of cancer. ADT will slow down and even stop cancer growth by reducing androgen levels. But the patient will have to undergo long term hormone therapy. However, radical prostatectomy cannot be done for advanced cases as it does not treat cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Prevention:

Some foods may prevent prostate cancer. Tomatoes, grapefruit, and watermelon contain lycopene, a chemical that may lower the risk of prostate cancer. Many studies also have proved that protective effect for vitamin E, selenium and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy.

Prostate Cancer Treatment in India has become very common and many reputable hospitals offer this treatment. Consult your doctor today.

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