The prostate is a walnut size gland found only in men that is located below the bladder. The tube (urethra) that carries urine passes through the center of the prostate. The function of prostrate is to produce fluids that nurture and protect the sperm and comes out when a man ejaculates. The size of the prostate can vary according to age. In older men, it can be bigger in size.
When the cells in the prostate gland multiply and grow abnormally and forms a tumor, it leads to prostate cancer. Growths of some tumor remains slow and do not cause any problem, while other grows fast and often become life threatening. In few aggressive cases, the tumor spreads to the bones and causes severe pain.
It is the most common cancer amongst men. Prostate cancer generally affects men over the age of 40 years. Old men in their 70s and 80s are more prone to this disease.
Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
Sometimes the symptoms of prostate enlargement and prostate infection are almost the same as Prostate cancer. The patient experiences difficulty in urinating and feels pain or urinates frequently; the urine flow is interrupted and sometimes blood comes out with urine. Many patients feel pain while ejaculating and also experience pain in the lower back, upper thigh and hips.
As symptoms are quite same, men with these symptoms should immediately consult their doctor. Men under 50 have rare chance of getting this cancer. Heredity often plays a major role in contracting prostate cancer.
Diagnosis Of Prostate Cancer
Early diagnosis can help in treating prostate cancer successfully. At an advanced stage, it becomes difficult to cure. Therefore, it is extremely important that men with the above symptoms must see their doctor immediately. There are various tests and screenings available to diagnose prostate cancer.
A digital rectal examination is conducted by the doctor. Physical examination can reveal whether there is any lump and if the prostate is larger than its normal size. Enlargement of prostate is very common amongst elderly people and does not necessarily mean that they are suffering from cancer.
So, a PSA blood test is done to find out the level of Prostate Specific Antigen in the blood. If the level of PSA is too high, doctors suspect that something wrong in the prostate. But there can be several reasons for rise of PSA Level in the blood. So, ultrasound is done to know the actual size of the prostate.
The biopsy is done as a definitive test to study tissue samples, which determines if there is a cancerous growth of tumor. If any abnormal growth is detected and a tumor is found, then x-rays are done to investigate whether the cancer has spread to the bones.
Treatment Of Prostate Cancer
Often the growth of prostate cancer is very slow and therefore, no treatment is required. But regular monitoring with the help of PSA test is done, to observe the growth of tumor. But when cancerous growth is found, four main types of treatment are used to stop it.
A surgery called prostatectomy is done to remove the prostate gland. Radio therapy is used to kill the cancer cells, so that cancer does not spread to the bones. Hormone therapy can also be undertaken to block the effect of androgens (the male hormones), the level of which is responsible for growth of cancer cells.
Brachytherapy is also a newer type of radio therapy that is used to kill the tumors inside the prostate by inserting radioactive pellets or wires straight into the tumor. Prostate cancer should be diagnosed early; otherwise it can spread to the bones. Early detection can help men to safeguard their health.