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Little Did We Know That Prostate Cancer is the Most Common Non-Skin Cancer Amongst Men
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer, surpassed by lung cancer as the most common cancer affecting all men, followed by colorectal cancer.
Statistically, 80 percent of them occur in men over the age of 65. Although this cancer can also occur in younger individuals, it is very rare under the age of 50. Prostate problems can occur as men age.
Every year, one in six American men will develop it during his lifetime. Little did we know that a man is 33% more likely to develop prostate cancer than a woman is to develop breast cancer.
In 2004, it is estimated that 234,000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in the United States. It is therefore the most common cancer among American men, next to skin cancer. Prostate cancer is expected to cause more than 27,000 deaths each year.
A new case every 2 1/2 minutes. A new case every 150 seconds.
In the UK, around 35,000 men are diagnosed and around 10,000 men die each year. This means one person dies every hour in the UK.
Today, nearly two million men are battling prostate cancer, and over the next decade, as baby boomer men reach the target age of maturity for prostate cancer, nearly three million more will be forced to join the fight. It is estimated that by 2012, the number of new cases in the US is expected to increase to more than 300,000 new cases per year by 2012.
A new case every 100 seconds. A person dies every 13 minutes.
What is prostate?
The prostate is a male sex gland, walnut-shaped, located behind the pubic bone in front of the rectum that includes the lower part of the bladder. The tube that carries urine (the urethra) passes through the prostate. At birth, the gland is about the size of a pea and continues to grow until a person reaches the age of 20. Male hormones (called androgens) are responsible for this growth. The size of the gland will not change until 45, when it begins to grow again.
Its primary function is to produce a thick fluid that nourishes sperm, as well as helping sperm travel through the urethra and out of the male genitalia to reach and fertilize the egg. Although the prostate is not the primary component of the urinary tract, it is very important to urinary tract health.
In older men, the area of the prostate around the urethra may continue to grow. This leads to BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) which causes difficulty in urinating. BPH is a problem that needs to be treated, but it is not cancer.
What is prostate cancer?
The body is made up of different types of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide and then die. Sometimes, cells change and begin to grow and divide faster than normal. Instead of dying, these abnormal cells combine to form a tumor. If these tumors are cancerous or so-called malignant tumors, they can invade and destroy healthy tissues in the body. From these tumors, cancer cells can metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body and form new tumors. In contrast, non-cancerous tumors or so-called benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.
These abnormal cells grow out of control and form small lumps or bumps (overgrowth tissue) on the surface of the prostate gland. In some cases, the overgrowth of tissue is benign and this is called a prostate condition Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). At other times, abnormal cancer cells overgrow the tissue and are referred to as malignant or prostate cancer.
Being close to the bladder, a prostate disorder can interfere with urination and cause bladder or kidney problems. It is located immediately next to the nerves responsible for erection, so it can also interfere with sexual function.
Although more than 70% of cases are diagnosed in men over the age of 65, doctors recommend that every man over the age of 50 should have a PSA test and a rectal exam. Statistics show that African-Americans are almost twice as likely to develop prostate cancer as Caucasian Americans, so they should start getting tested at age 40. If you have a
About a third of men over the age of 50 have some cancer cells in their prostate, and almost all men over the age of 80 have a small amount of prostate cancer. In most men, these cancers grow very slowly, especially in older men, and never cause problems. Even without treatment, many of them will not die of prostate cancer, but those who do, live and die from some other unrelated cause before the disease takes hold.
However, like most types of cancer, prostate cancer can be aggressive if left completely unchecked, grow more rapidly, and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body, particularly lymph nodes or bones. This makes treatment more difficult.
What are the symptoms?
Prostate cancer has no symptoms for many years. By the time symptoms appear, cancer cells have usually spread beyond the prostate, which is why regular screening is necessary and recommended for men age 40 and older. Symptoms include:
- Urinary problems:
- Dull pain in the lower abdomen, buttock or upper thigh
- Cannot urinate
- A feeling that your bladder is not emptying
- Difficulty starting or stopping the flow of urine
- Urinary problem and difficulty starting
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Weak flow of urine
- A stream of urine that starts and stops
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Difficulty erecting
- Pain during ejaculation
- Genital pain
- Blood in urine or semen
Note: other health problems such as urinary tract infection or inflammation; Symptoms may be similar to bladder problems or kidney stones. So, if your symptoms include blood in urine, painful ejaculation and general pain in lower back, hip and leg bones, significant weight loss – you must visit your urologist for a thorough examination.
Who is at risk?
Risk factors associated with prostate cancer include:
- Age: After age 50, it is more likely to develop. More than 80 percent occur in men age 65 and older.
- Race: African American men have a 60% higher risk than white men, including Hispanic men
- Ethnicity: More common in North America and northwestern Europe and less frequently in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America.
- Family history: There appears to be a genetic link. With a family history of prostate cancer, a man’s risk of developing it doubles if a father or brother has the disease. A man whose brother has developed prostate cancer has a 4.5 times higher risk, and his father has a 2.5 times higher risk.
- Sterilization: Those who have undergone vasectomy (a surgery that sterilizes them) may be at increased risk.
- Men who have diabetes are at a lower risk of developing the disease, although no one knows why.
How to prevent?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce the risk of all types of cancer:
- Diet: The results of most studies show that a diet high in animal fat and low in fresh fruits and vegetables increases the risk of prostate cancer.
- Studies show that high amounts of lycopene (found in high amounts in colorful fruits and vegetables), selenium, goji berries, broccoli, and turmeric may reduce the risk.
- Exercise: Maintaining a healthy weight along with regular physical activity can reduce the risk.
- Get plenty of rest – A regularly scheduled sleep time is important for overall health.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
There are three common screening methods:
Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
Digital rectal examination as part of an annual physical examination in men age 50 or older (and younger men at increased risk). During this test, the doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for abnormalities. A rectal exam can be a bit unpleasant, it is done quickly.
Blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA).
PSA is a blood test that measures a protein in the cells of the prostate gland. The American Cancer Society recommends testing once a year for men age 50 and older and for younger men at high risk for prostate cancer.
Results below 4 years are generally considered normal. Results above 10 are considered high. Values between 4 and 10 are considered borderline. The higher the PSA level, the higher the risk of prostate cancer.
Confirmation of the test by biopsy is necessary because the PSA test cannot be used as an infallible test:
- 2 out of 3 men with high PSA values do not show cancer cells in their prostate biopsies.
- About 1 in 5 men with prostate cancer will have a normal PSA result.
Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS)
TRUS will be performed if a digital rectal exam or PSA level is abnormal. A probe is inserted into the rectum and pictures are recorded using sound waves, creating an image of the prostate gland. The test is usually performed on an outpatient basis and usually takes less than 30 minutes. Based on the results of this screening, additional tests may be recommended.
A positive biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis. If cancer is found in the biopsy, additional tests are done to see if it has spread to other organs:
- Blood tests– May be taken to see if the cancer has spread
- Bone scan– To determine if the cancer has spread to the bones
- CT scan– a series of X-ray images taken of the pelvis or abdomen, usually used to determine general signs of disease
- Chest x-ray– To determine if the cancer has spread to the lungs
- MRI– Magnetic resonance imaging to detect cancer in lymph nodes and other internal organs
What is the usual treatment for prostate cancer?
There are several treatments for prostate cancer: these include surgery, radiotherapy, and various types of medication. Hormone therapy is commonly used. It blocks the action of testosterone, a sex hormone that is essential for prostate cancer to grow.
Three treatment options are generally accepted for men with localization
- Radical prostatectomy: A surgery to remove the entire prostate gland and surrounding tissue. In some cases, lymph nodes in the pelvic area are also removed. The procedure is performed using nerve-sparing surgery to prevent damage to the nerves necessary for an erection. However, nerve-sparing surgery is not always possible.
- Radiation therapy: Applying energy to the prostate using an external beam of radiation. High-risk prostate cancer patients are candidates for adding hormonal therapy to standard radiation therapy.
- Active surveillance May be a recommended option for patients with early-stage prostate cancer, especially those with low-grade tumors with a small amount of cancer on biopsy.
Are there any side effects?
As with all diseases, treatment can cause side effects. The most worrisome side effects are impotence, or erectile dysfunction, and incontinence.
Researchers still don’t fully understand what causes prostate cancer or how it develops—and they urgently need to improve current treatments.
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