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What is Prostate Cancer? Its Signs & Symptoms

What is Prostate Cancer? Its Signs & Symptoms

Max Lab

Apr 23, 2024

Prostate cancer (PCa) is one of the most common cancers found in men. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13 out of 100 people with prostrate develop this disease at some point in their lifetime.

What is Prostate Cancer?

The basic meaning of prostate cancer is the presence of cancerous cells in the prostate gland in males. It is situated below the bladder and in front of the rectum in men. As men age, this walnut-sized gland grows as well. Its main function is to secrete seminal fluid that keeps the sperm healthy.  Prostate cancer presents itself in the lining epithelium of the gland. The tumours may be benign or aggressively lethal. Usually, prostate cancer does not have any notable symptoms in the initial stage. As the disease progresses, individuals may notice some active signs. 

Types of Prostate Cancer

Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of prostate cancer. Some of the other less common prostate cancer types are: -

  • Small cell carcinomas.
  • Transitional cell carcinomas.
  • Neuroendocrine tumours.
  • Sarcomas.

Signs and Symptoms 

Prostate cancer is a slow-progressing disease with no visible signs and symptoms initially. Many individuals may not notice any symptoms of prostate cancer for years as the tumour does not cause any pain. This is why yearly screening of prostate cancer from a reputed medical laboratory like Max Lab is recommended. 

As the disease progresses, it may show some signs of cancer in men such as:

  • Frequent urination.
  • Weak urine flow.
  • Burning sensation while peeing.
  • Pain during urination.
  • Blood in semen or urine.
  • Hip, chest or lower back pain.
  • Painful ejaculation.
  • Erectile dysfunction.

If a person experiences any of the aforementioned symptoms, the chances of prostate cancer or co-related problems may be high. Thus, they must visit a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

It is important to note that not all prostate growth means cancer. Many other prostate problems have similar symptoms to prostate cancer such as:

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia: Enlarged prostate gland.
  • Prostatitis: Inflammation and swelling in the prostate gland.

Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

The exact reasons for prostate cancer are not known yet. Experts say that prostate cancer develops when the cells divide faster and do not die. These cells multiply to form a benign tumour that progresses to become cancerous. However, prostate cancer progression is slower than any other form of cancer. Proper diagnosis restricts its growth and is treatable. Some of the common risk factors of prostate cancer are:

  • Age (Men over the age of 50).
  • Race and ethnicity.
  • Family history.
  • Genetics.
  • Lifestyle choices (Smoking, obesity, and more).

Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

Timely screening helps detect prostate cancer at an early stage. A high-risk individual must undergo screening once a year. In case an individual is diagnosed with prostate cancer, they may need to take some additional tests for further diagnosis and treatment. These are the screening tests usually recommended by doctors:

It is vital to note that many times doctors may not order further screening or tests for an individual with slow progressing prostate cancer. This is because if the tumour is growing at a very slow pace, it is not problematic. 

A medical professional uses the Gleason score and cancer staging to determine the progression of prostate cancer. 

Gleason Score

It provides information about the abnormality of the cancerous cells in the prostate gland. The medical practitioner rates the abnormal cells and determines the grade of cancer. A higher Gleason score indicates more cancerous cells. 

Cancer Staging

It is used to know the stage of prostate cancer. The cancer may be in the person’s prostate gland only or may invade other organs, bones, and lymph nodes. 

Treatment of Prostate Cancer

The treatment of prostate cancer is based on several factors. It is determined by stage (TNM tumour classification), tumour grade (Gleason grading), PSA concentrations, and the age and broader health of an individual. Several men have aggressively progressing prostate cancer while others may have slow-progressing cancer. If the cancer is detected at an early stage, it is treatable. These are some of the common treatments for prostate cancer:

Surgery 

Open radical prostatectomy or robotic radical prostatectomy is recommended by doctors for a person with prostate cancer. It is suggested for cancer that has not spread to other organs. A surgical oncologist removes the affected prostate gland to stop the spread of the disease. 

Radiation Therapy

It is another treatment for prostate cancer which may be used standalone or along with other treatments. Brachytherapy and external beam radiation therapy are commonly used treatments. 

Systematic Therapies

This treatment is done when the prostate cancer has spread to other organs in the body (metastasis). Hormone therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy are some of the treatments suggested by medical practitioners. 

Focal Therapy 

It is a new treatment procedure which destroys cancerous cells inside the prostate. It is usually recommended for low-risk cancers. 

Prostate cancer is a curable medical condition with proper diagnosis and treatment. Early-stage detection of prostate cancer based on some signs enables timely treatment and recovery. Proper treatment eliminates cancer from the prostate and the individual can lead a healthy life.

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