Overview of Prostate Cancer
When the Cancer affects the Prostate gland – located in front of rectum just under the bladder – The condition is known as Prostate Cancer. Prostate gland plays a vital role in controlling urination and producing seminal fluids.
Prostate cancer is regarded as the most common type of cancer affecting men in the United States, as more than 150000 reported cases each year. However, if diagnosed earlier, this condition can be completely treated with the help of medicine, chemotherapy, and surgeries.
The prostate gland is a part of the reproductive organism in men. It’s a small gland, usually not bigger than a ping-pong ball. The prostate is an important organ as it produces a liquid called PSA (prostate-specific antigen) that keeps the sperm in the liquid state. Also, the PSA nourishes the sperm and help it propagate towards the Ovum.
Regular screening will be helpful in detecting cancer at an earlier stage. Now, take a detailed look at its causes, symptoms, and treatment:
The first symptom of prostate cancer is the problem of urination. The patient may feel trouble in urination, mild pain while urination. Here are some other noticeable symptoms:
- Blood traces in the semen
- Blood traces in urine
- Painful ejaculation
- Darkened urine
- Pain and discomfort in the groin area
- Pain in the pelvic region
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced force in urine
- Pain in the waist region
The exact causes of Prostate cancer are not clear, but there are certain factors which can cause cancer. Doctor identify the first signs of abnormal mutations or growth in the glandular cells of the prostate gland. These changes are medically called as adenocarcinoma.
The mutated DNA of the affected cells, trigger a rapid growth and division in them, while the unaffected cells would die. This causes a rapid increase in the number of cancerous cells in the prostate. Gradually, accumulation of such cells forms a tumor. The tumor also grows bigger and starts to affect nearby tissues.
This minute change in shape and size of the cells and tissues of the prostate is called as Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN).
Here are some factors that can cause a cancerous growth in the prostate gland:
- Aging: Middle-aged or older individuals are more likely to get prostate cancer. In fact, more than 40% of all men, aged over 50 years have a PIN and similar symptoms. Increased number of PIN’s can grow as cancer.
- Family History: If your family happens to have a history of prostate and breast cancer, you have an increased risk of developing PINs.
- Being Overweight: Overweight and obese men are more prone to develop the cancer of the prostate.
- Colored Skin: For medically yet unknown reasons, men with colored skin (African and African American) are more at risk of developing cancer of the prostate.
As there is no specific factor which can cause the formation of cancer in the prostate, there isn’t any full-proof way to prevent it. However, after analyzing the recorded data of the patients and seeing individuals lifestyle, doctor suggest that doing certain things can help in preventing the Prostate cancer. Here are some tips to prevent it:
- Maintain a healthy Body weight: As we said earlier, being overweight can increase your risk of getting the PINs. Try to maintain a healthy body weight. Eat Low-fat foods and exercise regularly.
- Avoid taking Supplements: Many of the dietary supplement contains preservatives. Though there is no connection between these preservatives and cancer, it is better to eat healthy natural grown foods instead of taking supplements.
- Exercise regularly: According to some studies, men who have a sedentary lifestyle, have higher levels of PSA. Try to exercise at least 3 hours every week. Exercising will not only keep the PSA levels under control but also benefit your overall fitness.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables: Eating green vegetables and fruits instead of starchy processed foods is always a better option. However, the chances of preventing cancer with healthy eating are yet awaiting a medical conclusion, it does benefit your body. Eating fruits and vegetables keep you full for longer and prevent weight gain.
- Avoid Self-medication: According to studies, medicines that contain 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, such as Dutasteride and Finasteride can increase your risk of getting prostate cancer. These medicines are generally prescribed to men for hair loss and prostate enlargement.
Direct Rectal Examination (DRE): The doctor will insert in his finger into the rectum of the patient to examine any abnormalities or changes in the shape or size of the prostate.
Biomarker Tests: These tests are done by examining the urine, blood, or tissue of the patient to identify special chemical released only by cancerous cells. The chemicals are known as “Biomarkers” of cancer.
Ultrasound: This can be done to identify the abnormal growth of tissue in the prostate. The transrectal ultrasound scan is specially designed for this purpose.
PCA3 Test: Prostatic cancer antigen 3 (PCA3) is a unique gene, found only in the cells of the cancerous prostate. The doctor will test your urine for the traces of PCA3.
Biopsy: In this, the doctor will surgically remove 10-12 small pieces from various tissues of your prostate. Examining the piece under a microscope will reveal signs of cancer.
Apart from this, your doctor may ask you go through CT Scan, Bone Scan or MRI scan to confirm his suspicion about the prostate cancer.
The home remedies available to treat prostate cancer are speculative. There is no medical study that can confirm the effectiveness of the remedies against the symptoms of cancer. These remedies are based on the general studies, personal experiences of patients and general properties of the remedy used.
Soy and soy derivative products are an important part of food in Asian countries. In the men of Asian countries like Japan, Vietnam, Philipines etc. the risk of prostate cancer is lower than in the western countries. Soy contains a good amount of phytoestrogens. However, the effectiveness of phytoestrogens on cancer is still under medical observation.
Lycopene is a type of protein, found in red fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots etc. It has strong antioxidant properties, which prevents the growth of cancer.
Use of cannabis has gained acceptance in recent years, but it is still illegal to use in many countries/region. Consult your doctor/ healthcare expert before using cannabis in any way.
Cannabinoids present in the oil of cannabis is capable of reducing the spread of RD-1 gene in cancerous cells of the prostate. It can inhibit the replication of RD-1 gene and thus, decreases the spread of cancer.
4. Fish Oil
Having the high amount of Omega 3 fatty acids, fish oil is capable of preventing the growth of cancer. Omega 3 fatty acids promote the metabolization of good cholesterols in the body and also behaves as an antioxidant.
5. Vitamin C Rich Foods
Vitamin C boosts the production of white blood cells and empowers the immune system. Also, vitamin c is essential for the synthesis of collagen fibers. Collagen is required to repair the cell damage. Include more of vitamin c rich foods such as Oranges, Lime, Lemon, Tomato etc in your daily diet. These foods also contain a good amount of antioxidants which can reduce the effects of cancer.
The treatment of Prostate cancer will depend on the Stage of Cancer you have. Yes, Prostate cancer also has stages like any other cancer, which progress from Stage I to Stage IV depending on the size and severity of the tumor.
Treatment at an Earlier Stage
If cancer has not spread to many tissues and is the tumor is localized, the doctor may perform following procedure:
1. Regular Monitoring: The doctor will take many samples of your urine & blood to monitor the change in the levels of PSA. This is to identify if your cancer can be treated with requiring any other critical medication or surgical procedures. Sometimes, the risk developed from treatment outweighs the benefits you may get from it.
2. Radiation Therapy: The doctor will use optimized radiations to kill the cancerous cells. This method of targetting radiation only the affected cells prevents the chances of damaging other healthy cells. The doctor may use the radiation beams of different frequency in combination with hormonal therapy as well.
3. Brachytherapy: In this method, the doctor will implant Radioactive seeds in the affected tissues of the prostate. This method releases targeted radiation to a particular tissue.
4. Prostatectomy: Surgically removing the prostate gland. This is a critical procedure and patient may have to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks.
Treatment at an Advanced Stage
1. Androgen Suspension Therapy (AST): Androgen suspension therapy (AST), also called as the Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT), is a hormonal therapy procedure. The aim of this therapy is to reduce the effects of the male hormone Androgen. Androgen hormone can trigger the growth of cancer.
2. Chemotherapy: Its general therapy which utilizes medicines that are capable of curbing the spreading of cancer.