What is Prostate Cancer?
The prostate is a gland found only in males, located in front of the rectum and below the urinary bladder. The size of the prostate varies with age. In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men. It usually stays at about the same size or grows slowly in adults, as long as male hormones are present.
In the vast majority of cases, prostate cancer starts in the gland cells – this is called adenocarcinoma. Prostate cancer is typically a very slowly progressing disease. In fact, many men die of old age, without ever knowing they had prostate cancer.
Experts say that prostate cancer starts with tiny alterations in the shape and size of the prostate gland cells – Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). Doctors say that nearly 50% of all 50-year-old men have PIN. The cells are still in place – they do not seem to have moved elsewhere – but the changes can be seen under a microscope. Cancer cells would have moved into other parts of the prostate.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer?
Many cases of prostate cancer do not produce any symptoms in its early stages and isn’t detected until it has spread beyond the prostate. When signs and symptoms begin, they may include some of the following:
- Blood in your urine;
- Dull pain in your lower pelvic area;
- General pain in your lower back, hips or upper thighs;
- Urgency of urination;
- Difficulty starting urination;
- Pain during urination;
- Loss of appetite and weight;
- Painful ejaculation;
- Persistent bone pain;
- Weak urine flow and dribbling;
- Intermittent urine flow;
- A sensation that your bladder is not empty;
- Frequent urination during the night.
Causes of Prostate Cancer
While the causes of prostate cancer are still unknown, some risk factors for the disease include the following.
- Age. The chances of developing prostate cancer increase with age.
- Genetics. Black American men have a higher risk of getting prostate cancer than Japanese or White American men.
- Heredity. A person whose father, paternal grandfather or uncle has prostate cancer is at an increased risk for also developing prostate cancer.
- Hormonal influences. Testosterone – the male hormone – directly stimulates the growth of both normal prostate tissue and, perhaps, prostate cancer cells.
- Environmental, dietary and lifestyle factors. These include smoking, diets high in saturated fats, toxins, chemicals, and industrial products.
Can Prostate Cancer be Prevented?
To date, no specific prostate cancer gene has been identified and verified and no specific measures are known to prevent the development of prostate cancer. We can hope only to prevent the development of the cancer by making early diagnoses and then attempting to cure the disease.
Early detection of prostate cancer can be made by screening men by routine yearly digital rectal examinations beginning at age 45 and the addition of an annual PSA test. The purpose of the screening is to identify early, tiny, or microscopic cancers that are confined to the prostate gland. Early treatment of these cancer cells can stop the growth, prevent the spread, and, possibly, cure the cancer.
Don’t take any chances – we’re here to help!
Many cases of prostate cancer do not produce any symptoms in its early stages and isn’t detected until it has spread beyond the prostate. That’s why annual screening with a brief examination and PSA blood test is so important. Contact us today! Don’t delay – a simple examination and blood test may save your life.