Only men can suffer from prostate cancer because they’re the only ones with a prostate gland which is part of the male reproductive system. In the US, it is the most common form of cancer in men.
Medical authorities say that it is highly treatable if detected during the early stages. Unfortunately, prostate cancer during its early stages does not commonly produce any symptoms. That is why a lot of cases of it are detected only during the advanced stages in which it already requires aggressive treatment.
What is the Prostate Gland?
Your prostate gland is a tiny gland that is about the size of a walnut and it has a donut-like shape. It sits humbly right below your urinary bladder and near your rectum.
It is considered as part of your reproductive system and its primary goal is to produce and secrete what’s called prostate fluid or prostatic fluid, which forms majority of the semen. Experts say that your prostate gland also helps the semen to be propelled into the urethra during ejaculation.
By the way, your prostate gland also is a role player each time you are controlling your urine. Using thousands of tiny muscle fibers, it constricts the urethra to prevent the flow of urine from the urinary bladder.
Signs and Symptoms
Just like what’s mentioned earlier, prostate cancer does not produce any symptom at the onset. If symptoms are present, it may include one or more of these:
Constant urge to pee including most especially at night
Problem with starting urination or sometimes maintaining the flow of urine
Pain during urination and in some instances during ejaculation, too
Blood in the urine
Problem attaining and maintaining an erection
During its advances stages, prostate cancer may bring about additional symptoms. One of them includes bone pain felt in the spine, ribs and pelvic area. If the enlarging prostate gland is applying pressure on the spinal cord, it’s not unlikely for the male with prostate cancer to also have leg weakness as well as urinary and fecal incontinence.
Some males are simply at higher risk of developing prostate cancer than others. One of the risk factors for it is advanced age — prostate cancer is more common in men who are 50 years old and above. Experts say that another risk factor is having a first degree male relative (father or brother) who is diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Scientists are unsure whether or not being obese is a risk factor for prostate cancer. The same is true with a diet that’s high in red meat. It’s still unclear whether or not the intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs can be regarded as a risk factor for it.
Diagnosis and Treatment
It can be very easy for doctors to fail to detect prostate cancer during its early stages. Again, it’s for the fact that it tends to cause no symptom at the outset. That is why if you suspect that you are at high risk of prostate cancer, having early and regular screening is highly recommended.
Some of the most common tests for identifying the presence of prostate cancer include digital rectal examination or DRE and testing of the blood, urine or tissue for the detection of cancer markers.
During the early stages, a male who has prostate cancer may receive hormone therapy and radiation therapy for a few months. The prostate may also be removed in order to keep cancer from spreading to neighboring areas. Advanced cases of prostate cancer are usually treated with chemotherapy and long-term hormone therapy.