What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate. The prostate gland is a male reproductive organ shaped like a walnut which produces seminal fluid to nourish and transport sperm.
Among other types of cancer, prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. This cancer usually can grow gradually, which may not cause serious harm.
Some types of prostate cancer are slow-growing and may not require special treatment, while other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. Therefore, prostate cancer that is detected early has the best chance for successful treatment.
Causes of Prostate Cancer
The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown. Prostate cancer may develop when some cells in the prostate become abnormal. The abnormal cells can cause cancer cells to grow and divide faster than normal cells.
The abnormal cells continue to live while other cells die, which then forms a tumor and invades nearby tissue. Under certain conditions, some abnormal cells can break away and spread to other parts of the body.
When to See a Doctor for Prostate Cancer
Your urologist may perform prostate screening tests, including:
- Digital rectal exam (DRE). Your doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to examine your prostate.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Your doctor takes a blood sample from a vein in your arm to be analyzed.
If the DRE or PSA test results detect an abnormality, your doctor may recommend further tests for a more accurate diagnosis. Possible tests may include:
- Ultrasound is performed for further evaluation of the condition of the prostate
- A biopsy is performed to take a sample of cells from the prostate using a thin needle inserted into the prostate to collect tissue. This tissue sample will be analyzed in the laboratory to determine whether cancer cells are present.
- MRI Fusion is still being developed to help biopsy and diagnose the prostate gland.
Your urologist will help determine the right type of treatment based on your condition.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer may not appear in the early stages of cancer. However, common signs and symptoms of more-advanced cancer stages may include:
- Bone pain.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Blood in the semen.
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Difficulty urinating
- Minor pelvic discomfort
Treatment for Prostate Cancer
Treatment methods for prostate cancer depend on several factors, such as how fast the cancer is growing, how much it has spread, your overall health condition, and the potential benefits or the treatment’s side effects.
1. Immediate treatment may not be necessary
For men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer, you may not require immediate medical care or any treatment at all. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend active surveillance, such as routine blood tests, rectal exams, and possibly a biopsy to monitor the progress of your cancer.
2. Radical Prostatectomy
This surgery treatment involves removing the prostate gland (radical prostatectomy) which can be done in several ways, such as:
- The robot-assisted surgical procedure helps with the surgery by inserting a robot into the stomach through a small incision. Radical prostatectomy allows the surgeon to make more precise movements with surgical instruments than traditional minimally invasive surgery.
- Creating an incision in the abdomen to remove the prostate gland.
Talk to your doctor about the most suitable surgical procedure for your condition.
3. Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy to kill cancer cells in two ways: external beam radiation and brachytherapy. Side effects of radiation therapy may include pain, frequent urination, erectile dysfunction, and rectal symptoms such as loose stools or painful bowel movements.
4. Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy aims to stop the production of the male hormone testosterone. Prostate cancer cells use a lot of hormone testosterone to grow and develop. Cutting off the supply of testosterone can kill cancer cells or inhibit their growth.
5. Freezing Prostate Tissue
Cryosurgery or cryoablation involves freezing tissue to kill cancer cells. Cryosurgery is more often used as a treatment therapy for men whose radiation therapy treatment has not been successful.
Chemotherapy may be a treatment option for men with prostate cancer that has spread to distant locations. Chemotherapy uses medications to kill rapidly growing cells, including cancer cells. These medications are given through a vein in the arm (IV), in pill form, or a combination of both.
Immunotherapy or biological therapy is a treatment using your immune system to fight cancer cells. Sipuleucel-T is a type of immunotherapy developed to treat recurrent, advanced prostate cancer.
Treatments Cost for Prostate Cancer
Treatment cost for prostate cancer depends on the treatment chosen, doctor’s fees, hospital choice, and inpatient care’s fees during the treatment.
For more details regarding the estimated cost for prostate cancer treatment at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Prostate Cancer
It is preferable if you can prevent the risk of prostate cancer before it is too late by taking the following precautions:
- Eat healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits. Avoid high-fat foods by regularly consuming a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These foods contain many vitamins and nutrients that are good for your overall health.
- Avoid supplements. No studies are found about the good benefits of supplements for reducing the risk of prostate cancer. On the contrary, you are recommended to have a diet rich in vitamins and minerals to meet your vitamin needs and maintain your health.
- Exercise almost every day of the week. Exercise is good for improving your overall body health, helping to maintain ideal body weight, and improving your mood. Men who do not exercise have higher levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) than men who exercise.
- Maintain ideal body weight. If your current body weight is already ideal, try to maintain it by exercising almost every day of the week. If you need to lose weight, it’s a good idea to get more exercise and reduce your daily calorie intake. Speak to your doctor regarding what kind of diet plan is best for you.
Home Remedies for Prostate Cancer
If you have had prostate cancer once, you may still feel anxious about the possibility of its recurrence. You may still have to undergo hormone treatment or other therapy to control your cancer. Living with persistent cancer may be difficult and stressful.
Even if you have completed treatment, it is very important that you regularly consult your doctor. During scheduled visits, your doctor will ask questions about any problems you may have, perform exams, conduct laboratory tests, or imaging tests if necessary to look for symptoms of prostate cancer or side effects of treatment.
You may still have some of the treatment’s side effects even after years you complete your treatment. It is important for people with prostate cancer to tell your doctor about any emerging symptoms or problems. This condition may indicate cancer’s recurrence, a new disease, or second cancer.
Support from Others
It is normal for you to feel anxious, worried, and depressed. Some men may be more affected than others. That is why you should seek support from your loved ones such as your family, friends, counselors, etc.
Get a teleconsultation with a urologist through Smarter Health without leaving the house during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smarter Health also provides services to find the best doctors and hospitals at home and abroad for you.