by Kimberly Allen R.N.
Prostate cancer develops in mens prostate gland. The prostate gland is the small walnut shaped gland of the male reproductive system that produces seminal fluid which nourishes and transports the sperm.
Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in males worldwide. It is more common in the US than the rest of the world and the American Cancer Society states prostate cancer is most common in black men than white and least common in Asian men. Studies show that Chinese men that live in the US develop prostate cancer at a rate 15 times higher than their counterparts in China. Prostate cancer is more common in men over 50 years of age. It has been diagnosed in men younger, though it is rarely diagnosed under 40 years of age. It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the US, only lung cancer is higher. The American Cancer society estimates that at least 80% of men will develop this type of cancer before they reach 80 years of age. Age, obesity, and a family history are the primary factors affecting prostate cancer. However, there are numerous other factors that can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer including having been exposed to agent orange, high alcohol consumption and a high fat diet especially animal fat. there are also certain occupations that can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. for example, men that work in tire plants, farmers, and painters.
The exact cause of prostate cancer is still unclear. However, Drs do know that it develops after some of the cells in your prostate gland mutate and become abnormal. The DNA in the mutated cells causes the cells to grow and reproduce more rapidly than normal cells do and they also do not die when they’re supposed to. They continue living and accumulating forming a tumor. The tumor can grow and pieces can break off and spread to other areas of the body.
Frequently there are no symptoms of a problem in the early stages of prostate cancer, and there is rarely any symptoms until the cancer is advanced. Prostate cancer tends to grow very slowly so it is usually years before it has advanced sufficiently for symptoms to manifest. If your prostrate cancer is advanced some of the symptoms you may experience include difficulty urinating, the stream may be weaker, blood in the urine and/or semen and/or pain in your pelvic area.
Screening for prostate cancer through the PSA blood test which is currently the most effective way of determining if someone has prostate cancer has become very controversial. There is wide disagreement among medical organizations on the benefit of screening. The problem is that there is no way to determine if the cancer indicated by the PSA is in the early stages or advanced nor can it determine if the cancer is benign or malignant. Many Drs believe that many men have received unnecessary cancer treatments and as a result have put their body in danger of developing complications related to cancer therapies some of which are potentially very serious. Many believe that if you have no symptoms and are considered low risk there is no need for regular screening. Others recommend that men at high risk for developing prostate cancer begin PSA screening at 40 years of age and older. It is a personal choice that you should discuss with your Dr.
Treatment of prostate cancer depends on many different things including how fast is your cancer growing and how far has it spread? Other factors to consider are your age and overall health. Treatment will be different if your 92 with a weak heart than if your 65 and other wise healthy. It’s important to discuss all your options with your Dr. If your cancer is advanced and progressing rapidly there are treatments available like surgery, and/or radiation. Hormone therapy is another option available, sometimes hormone therapy is used before radiation therapy is initiated. There have been many advances in cancer treatment so researching them and discussing them with your Dr can help you decide what treatment is best for you.
It may not be possible to prevent prostate cancer, however you can reduce your risk of developing it by eating a low fat diet, one that is high in fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Some researchers believe that lycopene which you can get from tomatoes, whether raw or cooked prevents prostate cancer. Exercise, yep there it is again! Exercise improves your general health and helps you maintain a healthy weight decreasing our risk of developing prostate cancer.
Kimberly Allen is a registered nurse with an AND in nursing. She has worked in ACF, LCF and psychiatric facilities, although she spent most of her career as a home health expert. She is now a regular contributor to HealthAndFitnessTalk.com, dispensing advice and knowledge about medical issues and questions. You can reach her with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.