What is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate sits below the bladder, in front of the rectum, and wrapped around the urethra. It is a walnut-sized exocrine gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is responsible for the production of a seminal fluid that transports and nourishes the sperm.

Prostate cancer is a major concern and is tagged as the most common cancer among men.

Prostate cancer is a disease that progresses initially in a very slow manner. It progresses so slowly that a man may not be aware that he has had it for many years. Research shows that many men who have died of old age actually had prostate cancer and it was only discovered after an autopsy. When the rate of cancer growth accelerates is when the symptoms usually become noticeable. This rate of change is also used as a diagnostic and monitoring tool by doctors when treating the problem.

It usually starts as tiny alterations in the size and shape of the gland cells and this occurrence is referred to as PIN or Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN). Research has shown that 50% of men at the age of 50 have PIN. However, these changes can only be seen by using a microscope. The symptoms can only be felt when a man’s prostate becomes large enough to affect his urethra. This is when an individual will notice having an increased frequency of urination accompanied by a feeling that the bladder is never fully emptied despite several trips to the toilet.

However, if you feel these symptoms, it is important to not self-diagnose and assume you have prostate cancer. This is because these symptoms may only mean that you have benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH which is a non-cancerous type of prostate enlargement.

When Prostatic Cancer Reaches Metastatic Stage

Once all the tests show that you have prostate cancer it has to be treated as soon as possible. If left untreated, cancerous prostate cells can spread to other parts of the body and this occurrence is referred to as metastasis. This is when the cancerous prostate cells may lodge, spread and grow to be secondary tumors into other areas of the body.

Determining the Severity of Prostate Cancer

Determining the stage of cancer is a very important step towards selecting which type of treatment plan to use. By the use of the TNM (Tumor/Nodes/Metastases) system the size of the tumor, the emergence of metastases and the number of lymph nodes involved will be determined.

Computer tomography is also used to be able to check whether the cancer cells have spread through the person’s pelvis. Bone scans will also be done in order to find out whether the cancer cells have penetrated into the bones and an endorectal coil magnetic resonance imaging will also be used to be able to evaluate the seminal vesicles and the prostatic capsules.

What Causes Prostate Cancer

The exact cause of prostate cancer still remains to be discovered. However, statistics reveal that there are certain factors that increase a person’s risk of developing the condition. The two main markers are age and genetics. As male ages, his chances of developing prostate cancer increase. In the vast majority of cases, prostate cancer was diagnosed among men aged 50 years and above. Men whose brother or father and other first-degree relatives are diagnosed with prostate cancer are at higher risk of developing the same condition.

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