Prostate cancer is a condition where malignant cells form on the prostate gland.Located behind a male’s pubic bone and in front of the rectum, the prostate is a small gland that produces a fluid which mixes with semen during ejaculation. This fluid protects the sperm and keeps it healthy for conception. When cancerous cells begin to form on the prostate gland, this is referred to as prostate cancer. When these malignant cells in the prostate start to spread to other parts of the body, this is called metastatic prostate cancer.
What Causes Prostate Cancer?
Although there isn’t a clear answer to the question, genetics do appear to have a significant role in the development of prostate cancer.
- The odds of a male getting prostate cancer increase two- and even three-fold if his father, brother or son has it.
- Certain mutated breast cancer genes that can be inherited contribute to a select number of prostate cancers.
Other factors than can contribute to the risk of getting prostate cancer include:
- Ethnicity (Black males having the highest risk)
What are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
In its early stages, symptoms of prostate cancer tend to be nonexistent. When symptoms do appear, they can include:
- The sudden urge to urinate
- Urinating frequently
- Experiencing pain during ejaculation
- Blood found in the semen (hematospermia) or urine
- Lower back pain
Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer
Since symptoms of early-stage prostate cancer can be difficult to detect, it is recommended to get screened frequently. These tests include:
- Digital rectal exams (DRE)
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests
If any causes for concern are found during the DRE or PSA tests, further procedures can be performed. Some of these testing methods are:
- Transrectal ultrasounds
Treatments for Prostate Cancer Patients
Prostate cancer is highly curable when treated promptly. The right treatment plan for you will depend on your overall health and personal treatment preferences.
Treatment options for early-stage prostate cancer include:
- Active surveillance or watchful waiting (for older patients)
- Open prostatectomy, a surgical procedure that removes the prostate gland through an incision in the abdomen
- Less invasive options include laparoscopic prostatectomy and robotic prostatectomy
Radiation therapy used to shrink or completely eliminate the diseased area
In addition to the treatments listed above, options for treating metastatic prostate cancer include:
- Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
- Bisphosphate therapy
- Clinical trials