Prostate Cancer overview
Prostate cancer refers to any cancer found in the prostate. The prostate is a small organ, only found in men, that produces the seminal fluid sperm travels in. While some forms of prostate cancer moving extremely slow, others are aggressive and require rapid treatment. When it’s detected early, it can often be treated successfully, but the chances drop once it spreads.
Like many forms of cancer, there is a distinct lack of symptoms in the early stages of prostate cancer. When it becomes more advanced, and symptoms start to appear, they often include trouble urinating, decreased flow, blood in semen, as well as discomfort in pelvis or bones.
Another common complication for those living with prostate cancer is urinary incontinence. This can often be treated relatively easily, however. The treatment will depend on what type of prostate cancer you have, with it ranging from medication to surgery or even a catheter. Some men experience erectile dysfunction when dealing with prostate cancer, with similar treatment options available.
However, one of the most significant complications of any cancer is the metastasizing or spreading to other parts of the body. Prostate cancer is known to spread to nearby organs such as the bladder, but it can also travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to reach other parts of the body. Once this occurs, it can still be controlled, but it’s unlikely to be cured, making proper screening vital.
Researchers are still trying to work out precisely what causes prostate cancer. They do know that prostate cancer starts when cells in the prostate become abnormal and cause mutations in the DNA. Over time cells proliferate much faster than they should and damage the healthy tissue. Once these cells grow enough, they can break off and spread to other portions of the body.
The major risk factors for prostate cancer are things you don’t have much control over, such as age, race, and family history. Older men have a greater chance of developing prostate cancer, along with black men and those who have a family history. One risk factor that can be controlled is obesity, with large men who are diagnosed being much more likely to have an advanced case.
Aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, with nearly 175,000 men in the US set to be diagnosed this year alone. Older men are by far at the highest risk, with about 60% of cases occurring at ages 65-plus.
Cancer of any kind is a severe diagnosis and should be treated as such. Be sure to talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you’re worried you or a loved one may be dealing with prostate cancer. Only a professional can offer a real diagnosis and the most logical path forward.