It is true that Knowledge is power. It is also true that lack of knowledge results to disastrous consequences and a lot of ‘had I knowns’, as it is written, “my people perish for lack of knowledge”, and also, Prevention they say, is better than cure.
Prostate Cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among men in the world today. However, until recently, many people never heard or knew what it meant, hence the need for an article like this to create awareness on the disease.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
The word “prostate” comes from Medieval Latin, prostate, and Medieval French, prostate. The ancient Greek word prostates means “one standing in front”, from proistanai meaning “set before”. The prostate is so called because of its position – it is at the base of the bladder.
The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It makes most of the semen that carries sperm. The walnut-sized gland is located beneath the bladder and surrounds the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder.
Prostate cancer is usually a very slow growing cancer, often causing no symptoms until it is in an advanced stage. Most men with prostate cancer die of other causes, and many never know that they have the disease. But once prostate cancer begins to grow quickly or spreads outside the prostate, it is dangerous.
Prostate cancer in its early stages (when it’s only found in the prostate gland) can be treated with very good chances for survival.
Cancer that has spread beyond the prostate (such as to the bones, lymph nodes, and lungs) is not curable, but it may be controlled for many years.
Because of the many advances in available treatments, most men whose prostate cancer becomes widespread can expect to live five years or more. Some men with advanced prostate cancer live a normal life and die of another cause, such as heart disease.
What Causes Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer affects mainly older men. About 80% of cases are in men over 65, and less than 1% of cases are in men under 50. Men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to get it.
Fast facts on prostate cancer.
- Prostate cancer mainly occurs in older men – about 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men 65 years or older.
- Almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas – cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids. Prostate cancer often has no early symptoms.
- Advanced prostate cancer can cause men to urinate more often or have a weaker flow of urine.
- In the vast majority of cases, the prostate cancer starts in the gland cells – this is called adenocarcinoma.
- Prostate cancer is mostly a very slow progressing disease.
- In fact, many men die of old age, without ever knowing they had prostate cancer – it is only when an autopsy is done that doctors know it was there. Several studies have indicated that perhaps about 80% of all men in their eighties had prostate cancer when they died, but nobody knew, not even the doctor.
- Experts say that prostate cancer starts with tiny alterations in the shape and size of the prostate gland cells – Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN).
- Doctors say that nearly 50% of all 50-year-old men have PIN. The cells are still in place – they do not seem to have moved elsewhere – but the changes can be seen under a microscope. Cancer cells would have moved into other parts of the prostate. Doctors describe these prostate gland cell changes as low-grade or high-grade; high grade is abnormal while low-grade is more-or-less normal.
Any patient who was found to have high-grade PIN after a prostate biopsy is at a significantly greater risk of having cancer cells in his prostate. Because of this, doctors will monitor him carefully and possibly carry out another biopsy later on.
Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer
During the early stages of prostate cancer there are usually no symptoms. Most men at this stage find out they have prostate cancer after a routine checkup or blood test. When symptoms do exist, they are usually one or more of the following:
The patient urinates more often.
The patient gets up at night more often to urinate.
He may find it hard to start urinating.
He may find it hard to keep urinating once he has started.
There may be blood in the urine.
Urination might be painful.
Ejaculation may be painful (less common).
Achieving or maintaining an erection may be difficult (less common).
If the prostate cancer is advanced the following symptoms are also possible:
–Bone pain, often in the spine (vertebrae), pelvis, or ribs
–The proximal part of the femur can be painful
–Leg weakness (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord)
–Urinary incontinence (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord)
–Fecal incontinence (if cancer has spread to the spine and compressed the spinal cord).
Causes of prostate cancer
Nobody is really sure of what the specific causes are. There are so many possible factors, including age, race, lifestyle, medications, and genetics, to name a few.
Age is considered as the primary risk factor. The older a man is, the higher is his risk. Prostate cancer is rare among men under the age of 45, but much more common after the age of 50.
Statistics indicate that genetics is definitely a factor in prostate cancer risk. It is more common among certain racial groups – in the USA prostate cancer is significantly more common and also more deadly among Afro-Americans than White-Americans. A man has a much higher risk of developing cancer if his identical twin has it. A man whose brother or father had/had prostate cancer runs twice the risk of developing it, compared to other men.
3)Other studies have indicated that lack of vitamin D, a diet high in red meat may raise a person’s chances of developing prostate cancer.
4)A study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research suggests vitamin D deficiency may predict aggressive prostate cancer.
Some studies say there might be a link between the daily use of anti-inflammatory medicines and prostate cancer risk.
A study found a clear link between obesity and raised prostate cancer risk, as well as a higher risk of metastasis and death among obese people who develop prostate cancer.
7) Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Men who have had gonorrhea have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer, according to research from the University of Michigan Health System.
A US pilot study on men with low risk prostate cancer found that following an intensive healthy diet and lifestyle regime focusing on low meat and high vegetable and fruit intake, regular exercise, yoga stretching, meditation and support group participation, can alter the way that genes behave and change the progress of cancer, for instance by switching on tumor killers and turning down tumor promoters.
A study found that statins, which are used to lower cholesterol levels, may lower a person’s risk of developing prostate cancer.
Now that you have this knowledge about Prostate Cancer, what are you waiting for, get yourself checked before it is too late. Remember, a stitch in time, saves nine!