Prostate cancer is the most common cancer that affects men in the United States. Compared to other cancers, this diseases isn't as fatal and doesn't spread as quickly. However, it's still vital to recognize its symptoms, risks, and possible causes. That way, you or someone you love can spot it if it happens and know what steps to take.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, and the third leading cause of death from cancer in men. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
Prostate cancer begins when the cells in your body grow too fast and mutate. These abnormal cells amass and become a tumor over time. The disease affects the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. It produces seminal fluid which transports sperm, and is located in front of the rectum and below the bladder. The prostate surrounds the urethra, which is the tube through which urine passes.
Localized Prostate Cancer
Localized prostate cancer is still the most common type of prostate cancer diagnosed in the U.S. It means the cancer is confined to the prostate. About 60% of prostate cancers are found at this stage. The 5-year relative survival rate for men with localized prostate cancer is nearly 100%.
Advanced Prostate Cancer
Advanced prostate cancer is a form of the disease that has spread beyond the prostate gland. This means that it has moved into the surrounding tissue or even nearby organs. While there are treatments available for advanced prostate cancer, it is often difficult to control and can be life-threatening.
The exact cause of many prostate cancers remains largely unknown. More research is still needed to find out what triggers the mutation of cells into cancer cells. However, there are factors you can look into to decrease your chances of developing prostate cancer.
Who Can Develop Prostate Cancer?
Developing prostate cancer is something that men of all ages should be aware of. This type of cancer usually affects older men, but it can occur in younger men and trans women as well. There are several factors that increase your risk for prostate cancer, and it is important to be aware of them.
Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men. It is a serious disease that can often be cured if caught early. Those with a family history of prostate cancer are at higher risk for developing the disease. According to a study published in the Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal, Black men record the most incidences of prostate cancer worldwide.
Prostate cancer grows slowly, and most men with the disease will never have any symptoms. The chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer goes up as men get older. About 6 in 10 cases are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare in men younger than 40.
Prostate cancer may not cause any symptoms in its early stages. As the cancer grows, it can cause problems urinating, including urinary incontinence, a slow or weak urinary stream, or needing to urinate more often, especially at night. Other symptoms may include blood in the urine or semen, pain in the hips, thighs or lower back, and erectile dysfunction.
So, how is prostate cancer diagnosed? Prostate cancer is diagnosed through a digital rectal examination, prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, or biopsy. If you have risk factors for prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend these tests earlier than age 50. African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer should start testing at age 45.
During a digital rectal exam, the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum and feels the prostate for any lumps or changes in size. On the other hand, the PSA test measures the level of PSA in your blood, a protein produced by the prostate. Higher levels may be a sign of cancer. The last test, prostate biopsy, is the removal of prostate tissue to be examined for cancer cells.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation suggests that all men should have a discussion with their doctor about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening starting at age 50. This is especially important for men who have a close relative who has had prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer risk increases because of several things, but the most common is older age. Men who are over the age of 65 are more likely to develop prostate cancer. The average age at diagnosis is 66.
You also have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer if you are an African-American. African-Americans are more than twice as likely to develop prostate cancer as white men. Other factors include family history of prostate cancer, obesity, overconsumption of red or processed meats, and a previous vasectomy.
If you've been exposed to certain chemicals, such as cadmium, herbicides, and pesticides, you may also develop the disease. Other risk factors include a prior infection or inflammation in your prostate.
A study published in the journals of the American Association for cancer research shows sexually transmitted infections also increase the likelihood of developing prostate cancer. A couple of examples include syphilis and gonorrhea.
Treatment And Prevention
Prostate cancer treatment depends on the cancer stage and grade, and the patient's age and health. For early stages of prostate cancer, your doctor may perform active surveillance, which is closely monitoring the cancer without treatment. Initial treatment may also be recommended if the cancer is causing symptoms or if it is growing quickly.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to attack specific cancer cells. It can be given externally, from a machine outside the body, or internally, through implants placed in the prostate. Hormone therapy reduces the level of testosterone in the body, as testosterone can make prostate cancer grow. Chemotherapy uses drugs and other substances to kill cancer cells.
After treatment, you will be followed closely by your doctor. You will have regular PSA tests and digital rectal exams to look for signs of cancer recurrence. You may also have additional scans and tests, or other treatments.
Watchful waiting is an option for some men with prostate cancer. With this approach, no active treatment is given, but the cancer is monitored closely. This may be an option for older men who have slow-growing cancers and do not observe severe symptoms.
There is no sure way to prevent prostate cancer, but there are things you can do to lower your risk. These include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting regular medical checkups.
To Wrap Up
Most prostate cancers are slow-growing, unlike other types of cancer. You can lower your chances of developing it by getting regular checkups and living a healthy lifestyle. That means considering your general health status and making changes.
You can get enough sleep, avoid harmful substances, exercise regularly, and eat a balanced diet. What you eat can greatly impact how your body feels and develops. You need to shift from processed and saturated food to healthier options that give you nutritious value.
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