Prostate Cancer

There are many health issues that are considered critical for men. Prostate Cancer is considered a rising health issue for men; it is the third leading cause of death from cancer in men of every age and is the most common cause of death from cancer in men over the age of seventy-five. Prostate cancer is cancer that begins in the prostate gland. The prostate is a small, walnut-sized formation that consists of part of a man’s reproductive system. It drapes in the region of the urethra, which is the tube that bring urine out of the body There are some individuals who are at higher risk of getting prostate cancer than others.

African-American men are likely to develop cancer at every age; men who are over the age of sixty and who have a close male family member, like father or brother, with prostate cancer. There are other factors that can cause a man to have prostate cancer, they are men who abuse alcohol, those who are farmers and men who eat a diet high in fat, particularly animal fat. Also men who work at tire plants, painters and men who have been exposed to cadmium are at high risk of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer has a few common symptoms that a man can look for on a daily basis. The first common symptom is a delayed or slow start of the urinary stream.

The second one is dribbling or leakage of urine, this usually takes place after urinating. The next symptom is a slow urinary stream. The fourth one is straining when urinating, or not being able to drain out all of the urine. Another symptom is finding blood in the urine or in the semen. The last common symptom of prostate cancer is bone pain or tenderness, most often found in the lower back and pelvic bones but this is only felt when the cancer has spread. (Reference 2) In the case of many cancers, the one and most precise test that can verify that an individual has cancer is through biopsy.

When it comes to prostate cancer, a biopsy is the only test that can authenticate the diagnosis. Biopsy of the prostate is described as the tissue from the prostate cut off, then viewed beneath a microscope. The results of the Biopsy are described using a Gleason grade and a Gleason score. The Gleason grade depends on how aggressive the prostate cancer may possibly be. It grades tumors on a scale from one through five based on how different it is from a prostate with normal cell tissue. At times there is more than one Gleason grade there within the same tissue sample.

The Gleason grade is consequently used to produce a Gleason score by accumulating the two most leading grades simultaneously on a scale of two through ten. The elevated the Gleason score, the more probable the cancer is to spreading outside of the prostate gland. If the score is between two and four, it is considered a low-grade cancer. Scores that are from five to seven are intermediate grade cancer, which is the most common category that most prostate cancers fall under. The scores that run from eight to ten are classified as high-grade cancer.

Doctors may execute a prostate biopsy if they see that an individual’s PSA blood test is high or if a rectal exam confirms a large prostate or a hard, irregular surface. PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen. It is a protein created by prostate cells. The PSA testing has reduced the need of rectal exams that is used to diagnose prostate cancer. PSA blood test is also used to observe a person’s cancer after they have begun treatment. Most often, PSA levels will start to increase before any symptoms begin to show. Even if the PSA is normal, an unusual digital rectal exam may be the only indication of prostate cancer.

Doctors may perform a CT scan or Bone scan to see if the cancer has spread. (Reference 3) There are many treatments that are available but the best treatment for a person’s prostate cancer may not always be apparent. At times doctor counsel a patient to try one treatment based on what is known about that particular type of cancer and the risk factors; and other times, the doctor will speak with the patient about two or more treatments that may be good take care of the cancer. During the early stages of the prostate cancer the patient should speak to their doctor about numerous options, which include surgery and radiation therapy.

Surgery is only recommended after a detailed assessment and debate of the benefits and risks of the procedure. The surgery may be to remove the prostate and some of the tissue surrounding it; this is only an option if the cancer has not spread further than the prostate gland. The surgery is called radical prostatectomy. Some of the side effects of the surgeries are difficulty controlling urine or bowel movements and erection problems. During radiation therapy, doctors use high-powered x-rays, particles, or radioactive seeds to destroy the cancer cells.

Radiation therapy is more effective if it treats prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate. It may also be performed after surgery, if there is a threat that prostate cancer cells may still be there. Radiation can be used to relieve pain when cancer has spread to the bone. (Reference 8) In patients that are older, doctors may need to just monitor the cancer with PSA tests or another option is to perform biopsies. If the cancer has spread beyond the prostate it may be treated with drugs to decrease testosterone levels, surgery to take out the testes, or chemotherapy which the use of drugs to kill the cancer cells.

(Reference 5) Surgery, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy may hamper the man’s sexual desire or even performance. After radiation therapy, there may be problems with urine control. These issues can either improve as times goes on or may get worse, but it depends on the treatment. (Reference 4) Another treatment option that is available to those with prostate cancer is called Prostate Brachytherapy. This involves inserting radioactive seeds within the prostate gland. The surgeon sticks small needles through the skin behind the scrotum to infuse the seeds. These seeds are very small so the patient will not feel them.

These seeds can be placed temporarily or be left in there permanently. Brachytherapy is usually used on men with smaller prostate cancer that is found early and which grows slowly. A few side effects of this therapy may consist of pain, swelling or bruising in your penis or scrotum, red-brown urine or semen, impotence, incontinence, and diarrhea. (Reference 10) Proton is another kind of radiation used to treat prostate cancer. (Reference 9) Doctors put proton beams onto a tumor, so that there’s not as much damage to the tissue surrounding it. Hormone therapy is also available to men with prostate cancer.

Testosterone is the body’s main male hormone. Prostate tumors require testosterone to develop. Hormonal therapy is any treatment that reduces the result of testosterone on prostate cancer. These treatments can prevent additional growth and spread of cancer. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy are also provided to treat prostate cancers that do not respond to this hormone treatment. An oncology specialist will typically advise a single drug or a combination of drugs. (Reference 6) After a patient receives treatment for prostate cancer, they will be closely observed to make sure that the cancer does not spread.

This includes routine doctor check-ups, as well as consecutive PSA blood tests. These tests usually take place every 3 months to 1 year. There are a few tips that can help prevent prostate cancer. One tip is to follow a vegetarian, low-fat diet or one that is like the traditional Japanese diet. This will include foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Finasteride and Dutasteride are drugs used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia also known as BPH. Doctors recommend that men do screenings to help detect prostate cancer early.

(Reference 1).

Reference Page 1. http://www. ncbi. nlm.nih. gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002978/ 2. http://www. webmd. com/prostate-cancer 3. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Prostate_cancer#References 4. Andriole GL, Crawford ED, Grubb RI 3rd, Buys SS, Chia D, Church TR, et al. Mortality results from a randomized prostate-cancer screening trial. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:1310-1319. 5. Babaian RJ, Donnelly B, Bahn D, Baust JG, Dineen M, Ellis D, et al. Best practice statement on cryosurgery for the treatment of localized prostate cancer. J Urol. 2008;180:1993-2004. 6. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Prostate cancer. V. 2. 2009.

Accessed June 2009. 7. Schroder FH, Hugosson J, Roobol MJ, Tammela TL, Ciatto S, Nelen V, et al. Screening and prostate-cancer mortality in a randomized European study. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:1320-1328. 8. Walsh PC, DeWeese TL, et al. Clinical practice: localized prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(26):2696-2705. 9. Walsh PC. Chemoprevention of prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. 2010 Apr 1;362(13):1237-8. 10. Wilt TJ, MacDonald R, et al. Systematic review: comparative effectiveness and harms of treatments for clinically localized prostate cancer. Ann Intern Med. 2008;148(6):435-448.

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