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Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the prostate. The prostate gland is a walnut sized organ located within the male reproductive system near the bladder and surrounding the urethra or tube that carries urine. The primary function of the prostate is producing fluids that make up semen.

Some of the risk factors for Prostate Cancer include;

  • Aging: Risk increases substantially after the age of 50
  • Family history
  • Inherited mutations: Studies have shown an elevated risk of prostate cancer among men with changes in BRCA1 and BRCA2 inherited genes
  • Diet: Increased consumption of red meat or high-fat dairy products have an increased risk for developing the cancer
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Inflammation of the prostate
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Vasectomy

Common Symptoms and Signs that Prostate Cancer may be present;

  • Difficulty in starting urination
  • Flow of urine is weak or interrupted
  • Frequent urination, most often in the night
  • Inability or difficulty in emptying the bladder
  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Blood present in urine or semen
  • Constant pain in the back, hips or pelvis
  • Painful ejaculation

Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

Although symptoms may suggest that cancer is present, the use of diagnostic imaging,blood tests and biopsies can help confirm whether the cancer really exists. The following are tests that may be conducted in diagnosing prostate cancer:

  • PSA blood test
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Transrectal ultrasound
  • Bone scan
  • ProstaScintâ„¢ scan

Treatment Options for Prostrate Cancer

Treatment options may consist of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or any combination of these treatments.

  • Surgery may be an option where the surgeon may remove part of or the entire prostate organ.
  • Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses anti-cancer drugs to kill or stop the growth of cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy radiation beams to eliminate cancer cells or stop them from growing.Radiation therapy consists of external beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy or internal radiation therapy.
  • External beam is a treatment option that uses localized high energy radiation beams to eliminate cancer cells and keep them from growing.
  • Brachytherapy uses a radioactive substance, usually in the form of seeds which are placed directly into or near the cancer which helps to shrink the tumor.