The male reproductive system includes the prostate gland. It is a firm gland, the size of a walnut, which wraps around the neck of the bladder and the urethra (the tube that delivers urine from the bladder). The prostate gland secretes much of the liquid portion of semen.
Cancer cells develop and proliferate in the prostate gland, causing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that grows swiftly and spreads to other places of the body. Or, more commonly, it may be slow-growing and stay in the prostate, causing few if any problems. Slow-growing prostate cancer accounts for three out of every four occurrences.
A prostate cancer diagnosis is the leading cancer diagnosis and the second most common cause of cancer-related death in men in the United States. Prostate cancer affects more than 100,000 men each year, and almost 30,000 men die from it. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in U.S. men.
Since the early 1990s, new screening tests and improved prostate cancer treatments have been associated with dramatic shifts in the incidence, prostate cancer stage at diagnosis, and mortality of this disease. Major advances in research have provided new insights into prostate cancer. These developments promise to transform our understanding of this disease and will likely lead to new and better prostate cancer prevention, prostate cancer treatment, and prostate cancer cure in the foreseeable future.
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What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
In the first signs of prostate cancer, the patient may not experience a single prostate cancer symptom. Often, the disease is ‘silent.’ As the malignancy spreads, it may constrict the urethra and cause urinary problems. These prostate cancer symptoms are very similar to benign hypertrophy (non-cancerous enlargement) of the prostate, which also occurs in older men. Significant bone pain may also be a signal that cancer has spread.
Signs And Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
- Frequent nocturnal urination
- Weak urine stream
- Inability to urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Pain or burning during urination
- Chronic pain
- Pelvic pain
- Lower back pain
- Hip pain
- Pain in bones of upper legs
- Significant weight loss
Prostate Cancer Treatment & Causes For Prostate Cancer
prostate pain location may take any one of several courses, depending on what is observed concerning the disease and about the patient from the time that the condition is first diagnosed.
Usually for early prostate cancers, radical prostatectomy – the surgical removal of the prostate gland – and radiation therapy in some combination or sequence are the two most common treatments employed for patients with carcinomas that have not yet spread from the prostate gland; and patients who have diseases that are no longer contained within the gland have to be subjected first to hormonal therapy, and perhaps then to chemotherapy.
There are variations, of course, depending on the general state of health of the patient and his age at the time that the disease is diagnosed; and there are some new treatments also which may offer a different approach to therapy. All of these are taken into consideration before the treatment is decided upon.
The green light PVP laser procedure is however more of benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH) treatment since it is mostly simply used to cut away the excess tissue of the organ when it is enlarged.
Sometimes prostate cancer in the early stages of the disease may result in symptoms that are similar to those of BPH, but they should never be confused one for the other because whereas one of them is ‘benign’, the other is a malignant growth that should be treated decisively with sincere hopes that it does not relapse.
BPH may be treated by surgery or medications to reduce the size of the prostate gland so that it ceases to compress the urinary bladder and obstruct the flow of fluid through the prostatic urethra.
Surgically, BPH responds to cutting away of the excess tissue by a procedure known as transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP, which requires the insertion of a sharp instrument known as the cytoscope or endoscope to cut the organ. One of the most common complications of this approach is that it often results in much blood loss, in spite of being a decisive treatment for the disease. Laser surgery is therefore much preferred because it is able to reduce this by a significant degree.
Greenlight photovaporization of the prostate (PVP) is a laser procedure that cauterizes the wound as the cutting is made so that blood loss does not occur quite as frequently, leading to lowered incidence of other side effects and complications from the treatment, and to a much more rapid recovery for the patient. It is merely a replacement of the scalpel by the laser beam, which makes life that much more comfortable for both patient and urologist.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed or evaluated?
Prostate cancer is diagnosed through biopsy. Prostate cancer may be detected in the following ways:
Prostate specific antigen (PSA)
Measurement of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)–a simple blood test–is useful in early prostate cancer detection.
Digital rectal exam
During a digital rectal examination, a health professional inserts a lubricated, gloved finger of one hand into the rectum to palpate (feel) the prostate gland for any nodules or abnormalities.
Transrectal ultrasonography with fine-needle aspiration
Transrectal ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves from a probe placed in the rectum to make an image of the prostate gland on a video screen. Using transrectal ultrasound for guidance, a physician inserts a thin needle into the suspicious area and withdraws a small sample of tissue. The sample is then analyzed under a microscope to confirm the prostate cancer diagnosis.
Other radiographic tests
A bone scan is useful to evaluate bone metastasis, which eventually develops in nearly 80% of prostate cancer patients. A CT scan and transrectal ultrasonography may be useful in selected patients to assess the extent of prostate cancer and a high-resolution MRI can be used to detect small lymph node metastases.
Staging and grading
are used to describe how abnormal or aggressive the cancer cells appear. The stage and grade help to predict long-term results, response to treatment, and survival.
- Stage A: confined to the prostate, no nodule palpable
- Stage B: palpable nodule confined to the gland
- Stage C: local extension
- Stage D: regional lymph nodes or distant metastases
The Gleason scale is the most common scale used for grading prostate cancer. The Gleason scale offers a score for prostate cancer cells ranging from 1 to 10, based on the two most prevalent cell patterns. The scores are divided into three categories:
- Prognosis is generally good if the score is less than 5.
- A score of 6 to 10 carries an intermediate prognosis.
- A score of more than 10 correlates with a poor prognosis.
How is prostate cancer treated?
Prostate cancer is treated in a variety of ways. The options are determined by the patient’s preferences for prostate cancer treatment, the stage of cancer, the patient’s life expectancy, and the patient’s overall physical and medical condition. A prostate cancer cure means the patient has achieved a prostate cancer-free state. If prostate cancer is caught early, the patient can become cancer-free.
Currently, there is no one best treatment for clinically localized prostate cancer (cancer that has not spread).
For patients with early-stage prostate cancer and a projected life expectancy of fewer than 10 years, watchful waiting (or doing nothing, but monitoring the patient’s condition) is a reasonable course of action.
Localized prostate cancer
Prostate cancer surgery or surgery to remove the prostate is generally performed in patients with localized prostate cancer and a life expectancy greater than 10 years. Radiation therapy (external beam irradiation or implantation of radioactive pellets or “seeds”) is an alternative in patients with localized prostate cancer.
Advanced disease and shorter life expectancy
Patients with advanced disease and projected life expectancy of less than 10 years are candidates for radiation therapy and prostate cancer drug therapy with diethylstilbestrol, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogues, and antiandrogens. These patients may undergo surgery to remove both testes, also known as a bilateral orchiectomy.
Regional disease and longer life expectancy
Radical prostatectomy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy are used to treat patients with regional metastatic prostate cancer who have a 10-year or longer life expectancy.
Androgen-deprivation therapy is a common treatment for metastatic prostate cancer. Additional treatment with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists (goserelin, leuprolide, or triptorelin) plus antiandrogens (flutamide, bicalutamide, or nilutamide), when started with external irradiation, improves control of the cancer and survival in patients with metastatic prostate cancer. Pamidronate prevents bone loss in the hip and lumbar spine in men receiving GnRH.
Prostate cancer is the leading cancer diagnosis and the second most common cause of cancer-related death in men in the United States. Prostate cancer is mostly a disease of the elderly man, with the average patient age at the time of diagnosis being 72 years old. Prostate cancer is more common in males of African ancestry around the world, according to studies. cancer mortality rates relate strongly to the average level of fat consumption around the world. In the early stage of prostate cancer, the patient may not experience a single prostate cancer symptom. Often, the disease is ‘silent.’ Treatment approaches to prostate cancer vary. The choices depend on the patient’s prostate cancer treatment preferences, the prostate cancer stage, the patient’s life expectancy, and the general physical and medical condition of the patient.