What is The Prostate Cancer?

The Prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland present in the male body. The Prostate produces a seminal fluid which transports and nourishes the sperm. When there is any abnormality with cell development in the Prostate, it is diagnosed as Prostate Cancer.

The Prostate Cancer is one of the most common cancers among Indian men. At the advanced stages, cancer often spreads from the Prostate to the adjacent body parts as well. The Prostate Cancer, a slow-growing cancer type, often develops within the patient’s body for years. Majority of the Prostate Cancer patients live a normal and asymptomatic life without it becoming life-threatening. The Prostate Cancers which are detected at an early stage and haven’t spread to other organs till then have a greater chance of complete recovery.

The Prostate cancer symptoms

At the early stages, The Prostate Cancer is often asymptomatic. In advanced stages, the signs of the Prostate cancer are:

  • Troubled and interrupted urinating
  • Need to urinate frequently
  • More frequent urge to urinate during the nights
  • Decreased amount of fluid ejaculated
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood coming out with Semen
  • Difficulty in holding back the urine
  • Pain and pressure in the rectum
  • Pelvic bone pain
  • Painful or burning sensation in urination
  • Discomfort and pain in the pelvic area
  • Pain in pelvis, hips, thighs and lower back

Causes of Prostate Cancer

The definitive cause of the Prostate Cancer is still unknown.  Therefore, the cause of this disease is largely determined from the probable risk factors:

  • Age Men over 50 years of age are most prone to The Prostate Cancer.
  • Family History If the patient’s father or brother had developed the Prostate Cancer before the age of 60, he is at a greater risk of developing the Prostate cancer. Research has also shown that if any female member of the close family has breast cancer, then it increases the chance of the Prostate Cancer.
  • Ethnic Group Asian men are least prone to develop the Prostate Cancer in comparison to African and African-Caribbean race.
  • Obesity Though there is no full proof evidence but researches have shown that obese people have developed the Prostate Cancer more than non-obese counterpart. Also, healthy diet and regular exercise keep the Prostate Cancer at bay. The research has also shown that people who have taken a high amount of fat and Calcium in their daily diet are more prone to develop the Prostate Cancer.

Detection and Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

Generally, The Prostate Cancer is diagnosed by blood tests and physical examinations.

  • The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test PSA test is the most authentic blood test for the Prostate Cancer. The result shows whether the Prostate-specific Antigen, the substance responsible for the cancer is within normal range or not. If the PSA level is above the normal range, then an MRI scan of the Prostate is advisable.
  • Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) The physician will insert a lubricated and gloved finger to the patient’s rectum to figure out any abnormality with the Prostate. Using a hollow and thin needle, a sample tissue from the Prostate is taken and examined by the urologist. Then, it goes for an ultrasound.
  • Biopsy The Biopsy is the most authentic test to detect any type of cancer. After the biopsy, a set of antibiotics are given to the patient to avoid further infection.  This test will help to understand whether the problematic cells are cancerous or not.

Mainly there are 3 types of biopsies done for these cases:

  • A transperineal biopsy The biopsy is done by inserting a needle behind the scrotum inside the Prostate; mostly done with general anaesthesia.
  • A transrectal In the VSG Guided Prostate biopsy, the needle is inserted through the rectum. An ultrasound probe is also inserted through the rectum. This procedure is generally done by local anaesthesia.
  • Biopsy during a cystoscopy examination

The Prostate cancer treatment

The necessity and the procedure of the treatment largely depend on the individual patient condition and the stage of cancer. In many cases, if the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the patient may not need any sort of treatment at all.

At the later stages, the treatment is done to cure the Prostate Cancer while keeping up the life expediency.

Once the cancer has spread from the Prostate and has already affected the other parts of the body, the aim remains to delaying the symptoms rather than to cure the concern altogether.

Which type of treatment is the best suited for you largely depend on these factors:

  • The  size and type of the Prostate Cancer
  • The patient’s general health condition
  • At which stage it has been diagnosed
  • Whether it has spread to other body parts or not

Most of the people tend to ignore the early symptoms and see a doctor only when the situation has already gone out of the hand. It is a universal truth for any type of cancer; early detection is the best treatment.

Content Reviewed By: Dr. Vikas Agarwal