Is It Prostate Cancer? Know the Signs!
Prostate cancer is a dangerous cancer that affects men. It is incredibly common in regards to potential cancers. Prostate cancer unsurprisingly originates in the prostate gland. This is the gland responsible for producing seminal fluid so that sperm may be transported. Most prostate cancers grow slowly. However, sometimes they can be aggressive. Metastatic prostate cancer spreads to other areas of the body and makes treatment much more complicated and difficult.
Determining those at risk of prostate cancer can be difficult. However, there are certain elevated factors which puts men at a greater risk. Those at risk should well know the signs, and those who aren’t at an elevated risk should still learn them! Prostate cancer can strike anyone. Take this opportunity to learn more about it and what can be done for it.
There are many risk factors which can point to the potential for prostate cancer. The first is age. Typically, doctors don’t start screening for prostate cancer until someone turns 50 unless there’s another risk factor. In those cases, it can start as early as 35. Obesity is another risk factor. Specifically, obese men often have more severe or advanced cases of prostate cancer when it’s discovered. Some races also have an increased risk.
Arguably the most well known risk is family history. If men in the family have had prostate cancer in the past, then it’s more likely to develop. However, there’s also a genetic link between family members who have undergone BRCA mutation. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are linked to a dramatically increased risk of breast cancer, but also can increase the risk of getting prostate cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
When looking for symptoms of prostate cancer, they can be gentle and subtle for many men. As prostate cancer develops, the symptoms tend to come to the fore more. Symptoms typically are located in the pelvic and genital area. Some men have issues with urination. They may be unable to urinate or they may notice that there’s a decrease in the strength of the urine stream. Pain in the bones or discomfort in tissue is also possible. Some men will suffer from erectile dysfunction, while others may find that there is blood within their semen.
The light hand that symptoms can show is part of why screening is so important for prostate cancer. By working to spot prostate cancer early, it can keep it from metastasizing and spreading to other parts of the body.
While prevention is ideal, treatment is important to handle prostate cancer correctly. Treatment can depend on what stage the cancer has reached and if it has spread to other areas of the body. Unlike many forms of cancer, sometimes prostate cancer won’t receive immediate treatment. Some cases are low risk and can instead undergo active surveillance. Blood tests and exams will be continuous to track and ensure the cancer isn’t growing or spreading. This is most common when there’s no symptoms. There’s of course the risk that during this period, it could change, grow and spread.
For many men, the prostate needs to be removed through surgery. The gland itself will be removed, as well as some tissue in the area and some of the closest lymph nodes. This surgery is known as a radical prostatectomy.
There are many other treatments that might be used as well. Radiation therapy can be performed through the use of exterior beams, or placing radioactive seeds in the prostate tissue itself. Beams use high powered radiation sources. The seed method uses smaller doses of radiation for a longer period of time. Hormone therapy helps to stop the production of hormones that the carcer uses to grow. This can result in the cancer cells slowly dying off. Biological therapy can also be known as immunotherapy. This is used for prostate cancer by genetically engineering immune cells taken from the body to attack the cancer cells. They are then placed back in the body. Cryosurgery is a method in which incredibly cold gas is used to freeze and eliminate cancer cells. Finally, chemotherapy is arguably the most well known cancer treatment. It uses drugs to try to stop and eliminate cancer cells. This treatment is most common when prostate cancer has metastasized.
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