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Little Did We Know That Prostate Cancer is the Most Common Non-Skin Cancer Amongst Men
Prostate cancer, the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer, has overtaken lung cancer as the leading cancer affecting all men, followed by colorectal cancer.
According to the statistics, 80% of these occur in men over the age of 65. Although this cancer can also occur in young people, it is very rare under the age of 50. As men age, problems develop in the prostate gland.
Each year, one in six American men will develop the disease in their lifetime. Little did we know that men are 33 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than women to develop breast cancer.
An estimated 234,000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2004. That makes it the second most common cancer in American men after skin cancer. Prostate cancer is estimated to kill more than 27,000 men each year.
A new case every 2 1/2 minutes. A new case every 150 seconds.
In the UK, almost 35,000 men are diagnosed and around 10,000 men die from the disease each year. This means more than 1 death every hour in the UK.
Today, about 2 million men are battling prostate cancer, and over the next decade, as baby boomer men reach the mature target age for prostate cancer, about 3 million more men will be forced to join the fight. It is estimated that by 2012, the number of new cases in the United States is expected to increase to more than 300,000 cases per year.
A new case every 100 seconds. 1 person dies every 13 minutes.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a male gonad, the size of a walnut, located behind the pubic bone and in front of the rectum, including the lower part of the bladder. The tube that carries urine (urethra) runs through the prostate. At birth, the gland is the size of a pea and it continues to grow until the age of 20, when it becomes an adult. Male hormones (called androgens) are responsible for this growth. The size of the gland does not start growing again until the age of 45.
Its main function is to produce a thick fluid that nourishes sperm and helps propel sperm through the urethra and out of the penis to reach and fertilize the egg. Although the prostate is not a major part of the urinary tract, it is very important to the health of the urinary system.
In older men, the part of the prostate that surrounds the urethra may continue to grow. This can lead to BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), which can lead to difficulty urinating. BPH is a problem that must be treated, but it is not cancer.
What is Prostate Cancer?
The body is made up of different types of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide and then die. Sometimes cells mutate and start growing and dividing faster than normal. Instead of dying, these abnormal cells gather together to form a tumor. If these tumors are cancerous or so-called malignant tumors, they can invade and kill healthy tissue in the body. From these tumors, cancer cells can metastasize (spread) and form new tumors in other parts of the body. In contrast, noncancerous tumors, or so-called benign tumors, do not spread to other parts of the body.
Abnormal cells grow out of control and form small nodules or lumps (tissue overgrowth) on the surface of the prostate.In some cases, the overgrown tissue is benign, a condition of the prostate called benign prostatic hypertrophy (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Other times, abnormal cancer cells are a feature of an overgrowth of tissue, which is called a malignancy or prostate cancer.
Due to its proximity to the bladder, prostate disease may interfere with urination and cause bladder or kidney problems. It’s also located next to the nerve responsible for erections, so it may interfere with sexual function as well.
While more than 70 percent of cases are diagnosed in men over the age of 65, doctors recommend that every man over the age of 50 should have a PSA test and a rectal exam. According to statistics, the incidence of prostate cancer in African-Americans is almost twice that of Caucasians, so they should start getting checked at the age of 40.if you have
One-third of men over age 50 have some cancer cells in the prostate, and almost all men over age 80 have small areas of prostate cancer. In most men, these cancers grow extremely slowly, especially in older men, and it never causes any problems. Even without treatment, many of them would not die from prostate cancer, but from some other unrelated cause that would later lead to their death.
However, like most types of cancer, if left unchecked, prostate cancer can be aggressive, grow faster, and may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body, especially lymph nodes or bones. This makes treatment more difficult.
What are the symptoms?
Prostate cancer usually does not cause any symptoms for many years. When symptoms do occur, usually the cancer has spread beyond the prostate, which is why regular checkups are necessary and recommended for men aged 40 and over. Symptoms include:
- urinary problems:
- Dull pain in the lower pelvic region, buttocks, or upper thighs
- unable to urinate
- Feeling like your bladder is not emptying
- difficulty starting or stopping urine flow
- urinary urgency and difficulty starting
- frequent urination, especially at night
- Inability to urinate
- urine stream that starts and stops
- pain or burning when urinating
- erection difficulties
- pain during ejaculation
- genital pain
- blood in urine or semen
notes: Other health issues such as urinary tract infection or inflammation; bladder problems or kidney stones can cause the exact same symptoms. Therefore, if these symptoms are present along with blood in the urine, painful ejaculation and general pain in the lower back, hips and leg bones, significant weight loss – it is inevitable that you will have to see a urologist for a thorough examination.
Who is at risk?
Risk factors consistently associated with prostate cancer include:
- age: After the age of 50, the chances of development are higher. More than 80% of cases occur in men aged 65 and over.
- Race: African-American men have a 60 percent higher risk than white men, including Hispanic men
- Race: It is more common in North America and northwestern Europe and less commonly in Asia, Africa, Central and South America.
- family history: There appears to be a genetic link. Having a father or brother with a family history of prostate cancer doubles a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. A man whose brother had prostate cancer had a 4.5 times higher risk of developing prostate cancer and a 2.5 times higher risk if his father had prostate cancer.
- Vasectomy: Men who have had a vasectomy (a surgical procedure that makes them sterile) may be at increased risk.
- Men with diabetes are less at risk for the disease, but no one really knows why.
How to prevent it?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce the risk of various types of cancer:
- Diet: The results of most studies suggest that a diet high in animal fat and low in fresh fruits and vegetables increases the chance of developing prostate cancer.
- Research suggests that a diet rich in lycopene (which is high in colorful fruits and vegetables), selenium, goji berries, broccoli and turmeric may reduce the risk of the disease.
- Exercise: Maintaining a healthy weight and regular physical activity can reduce your risk.
- Get plenty of rest – A regular bedtime routine is important for overall health.
How is Prostate Cancer Detected?
There are three common screening methods:
Digital rectal examination (DRE)
A digital rectal exam as part of the annual physical exam for men 50 years of age or older (and younger men who are at higher risk). During this test, the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for abnormalities. While a rectal exam can be a little unpleasant, it’s done quickly.
Blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
PSA is a blood test that measures a protein in prostate cells. The American Cancer Society recommends the test be performed annually for men age 50 and older and for younger men who are at higher risk of prostate cancer.
Results below 4 are generally considered normal. Results above 10 are considered high. Values between 4 and 10 are considered critical. The higher the PSA level, the more likely you are to develop prostate cancer.
This test needs to be further verified with a biopsy because the PSA test cannot be used as a foolproof test:
- Two-thirds of prostate biopsies in men with high PSA values showed no cancer cells.
- 1 in 5 men with prostate cancer has a normal PSA result.
Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS)
TRUS will be performed if digital rectal examination or PSA levels are abnormal. A picture of the prostate is created by inserting a probe into the rectum and recording pictures using sound waves. The test is usually done on an outpatient basis and usually takes less than 30 minutes. Based on the results of these screenings, additional tests may be recommended.
Confirmation requires a positive biopsy. If the biopsy shows cancer, additional tests are done to see if it has spread to other organs:
- blood test– may be taken to see if the cancer has spread
- bone scan– To determine if the cancer has spread to the bones
- CT scan– A series of x-ray images of the pelvis or abdomen, usually to determine general signs of disease
- chest x-ray– To determine if the cancer has spread to the lungs
- nuclear magnetic resonance– Magnetic resonance imaging to detect cancer in lymph nodes and other internal organs
What is the usual treatment for prostate cancer?
There are several treatments for prostate cancer: these include surgery, radiation therapy, and various forms of medication. Hormone therapy is commonly used. It blocks the action of testosterone, a sex hormone that prostate cancer needs to grow.
Localized men typically receive three treatment options
- radical prostatectomy: A surgical procedure that removes the entire prostate gland and surrounding tissue. In some cases, lymph nodes in the pelvic area are also removed. The procedure is performed using nerve-sparing surgery, which may prevent damage to the nerves needed for an erection. However, nerve-sparing surgery is not always possible.
- Radiation Therapy: Energy is applied to the prostate using an external beam of radiation. Patients with high-risk prostate cancer are candidates for adding hormone therapy to standard radiation therapy.
- active monitoring May be an option recommended for men with early-stage prostate cancer, especially those with low-grade tumors who have found only a small amount of cancer on biopsy.
are there any side effects?
As with all diseases, treatment can have side effects. The side effects of most concern are impotence or erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.
Researchers still don’t fully understand what causes prostate cancer, or how it develops — and they urgently need to improve current treatments.
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