Prostate Cancer - Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. In clinical studies, a 50-year-old man has a 40% risk of developing prostate cancer, a 9.5% probability of being diagnosed, and a 2.9% risk of death from this disease.
The prostate gland is the glandular tissue in which semen is formed to preserve the vitality of sperm. It is the male reproductive cell produced in the testicles.
The prostate gland reaches approximately the size of a walnut in an adult male. The size of the gland is about 3 cm. It surrounds the urethra, the urinary tract that comes out of the kidneys in the human body. Its anatomical localization begins after the bladder and is located in front of the rectum, the last part of the large intestine. For the prostate gland to fully function, the hormone testosterone, produced from the testicles, must be present in the body. Testosterone is also secreted by the adrenal glands in small amounts, apart from the testicles.
What is Prostate Cancer?
The cells that make up the body go through a unique birth, growth, maturation, and death, just like human life. However, if the cells continue to multiply and grow even though they are not needed, tumors are formed. If this growth is benign, they do not show the ability to spread to other parts of the body. The structures called cancer are malignant formations that show the feature of spreading to neighboring tissues and excessive proliferation. Cancers are named after the tissue in which they develop, and if this cancer occurs in the prostate gland, it is called prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men and is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths after lung cancer.
What Causes Prostate Cancer?
While the lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer in a man is 16%, the risk of death due to prostate cancer is 2.9%. The presence of a family member who has had prostate cancer before is one of the most critical risk factors. The more men in your immediate family have prostate cancer, the higher your risk of developing this disease. Smokers are more likely to develop prostate cancer. With increasing age, the probability of developing prostate cancer increases. Studies conducted in the United States have reported that prostate cancer is most common in men over the age of 55, and the average age of men diagnosed is 72. When the effect of nutrition on the formation of prostate cancer is examined, it has been shown that the risk of developing this disease occurs in those who eat foods cooked at high temperatures, rich in animal fat and red meat. When lifestyle factors are examined, it has been determined that the development of prostate cancer is high in individuals with a high body mass index. Men who regularly perform physical activities such as brisk walking and swimming have a low risk of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancers seen in smokers are more aggressive and progress more rapidly. In addition to regular exercise, nutritional strategies also play an essential role in developing prostate cancer.
With the detection of certain foods to increase the risk of developing prostate cancer, it has become essential to plan the nutrition strategy correctly. In particular, limiting the consumption of foods high in fat and rich in cholesterol has a vital role in controlling the risk of developing prostate cancer. In addition to foods that increase the risk of prostate cancer, the presence of foods that reduce the risk of cancer development and death has been shown by various studies. Individuals who regularly consume fish are less likely to be fatally prone to prostate cancer. With the regular consumption of mixed vegetables from the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, chard, mustard grass), the metabolism products of these vegetables in the body ensure the elimination of toxic substances that can cause cancer formation from the body.
What is Prostate Cancer Symptoms?
While prostate cancer does not cause any apparent complaints in the early stages, it causes various symptoms in the person with the progression of the disease and the enlargement of the gland. In the late period, symptoms may occur depending on the disease has spread to the surrounding organs and tissues. Weight loss and general malaise, which are common in cancer diseases, are also late symptoms. In the early stages of the disease, with the enlargement of the prostate gland, painful ejaculation may occur during sexual intercourse.
In addition to this condition, symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- Waking up from sleep to urinate frequently at night
- Feeling burning or pain while urinating
- Delay in starting to urinate
- Continuation of dripping urine flow at the end of urination
- Inability to urinate at all
- Urinating with a weak current, intermittent urination
- Blood in the urine or semen
It should be noted that these symptoms are not unique to prostate cancer but may also occur in the presence of various more straightforward health problems. A urologist should examine individuals with symptoms to determine the cause of the problem.
What are the Stages of Prostate Cancer?
The purpose of staging is to determine how far the disease has progressed and which organ or organs it has reached and ensure that the person receives the most appropriate treatment. The evaluation of the features of the cancer is limited to the prostate gland only; whether it has spread to the regional lymph nodes and whether it has spread to other organs, called metastasis, is called staging. According to the spread of the disease, it is classified as a localized stage, locally advanced stage, and advanced stage (metastatic) prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
Prostate-specific antigen, in short, PSA, is the most commonly used marker in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Determining the total level of PSA in the blood, which is a protein that can pass into the bloodstream at a specific rate after being secreted from the prostate, is essential in diagnosing prostate diseases. Still, it should be kept in mind that it can also increase benign enlargement or inflammation of the prostate. Although the reference range of PSA varies according to age, it is expected to be below 4 ng/ml.
PSA has also been detected in low concentrations in normal or malignant breast tissue, adrenal gland, and kidney cancers except prostate. Urinalysis can be requested in people who have complaints about urination, and the characteristics of the person's urine and the cell structures it contains can be determined by biochemical analysis. Apart from blood and urine tests, the most crucial step in diagnosing prostate diseases is a digital rectal examination, called rectal finger examination. In this way, the physician can determine the size and consistency of the prostate and any nodular formation on it. Another diagnostic method is to view the internal structure of the gland by placing the ultrasonography device through the rectum. Along with this imaging procedure, a prostate biopsy is taken for diagnosis when necessary. Today, it is recommended that this biopsy procedure should be at least 10 focussed.
The progression of prostate cancer is slow in most patients, so some diagnosed patients do not need treatment. Treatment in prostate cancer includes the use of surgery, radiotherapy, and hormonal treatment approaches alone or together, depending on the condition of the disease. Surgery is the most commonly used treatment method in the early stages of prostate cancer. After surgery, the most common side effects are urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction, which is called the inability to get enough erection to start and maintain sexual intercourse.
You can read more about cancer in the articles below: