An Overview Of Prostate Cancer What Is Prostate Cancer And How Dangerous Is It
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers that affect men. It is a type of cancer that attacks the prostate, which is a small gland shaped like a walnut found in front of the rectum, between the penis and the bladder, and whose primary function is to secrete a fluid that makes up about 70% of the semen that nourishes and lubricates the sperm.
Usually, prostate cancer can occur without triggering noticeable signs and symptoms. It grows gradually, and typically just stays in the prostate gland, requiring minimal or zero treatment at all. However, some prostate cancer can be quite aggressive and spread very quickly, needing medical attention at the earliest opportunity.
Early Detection Is Key
When detected early, prostate cancer is usually confined to the prostate gland itself. Treatment can then be targeted on the prostate without the need to explore other organs. However, when prostate cancer is not detected in time, it can invade other organs, which can complicate treatment. Thus highlights the importance of early screenings so that prostate cancer can be detected early before it spreads .
Sexuality And Prostate Cancer
Most treatments for prostate cancer cause side effects that can affect your sex life, some more than others. This can have a huge effect on a mans mood, self-esteem and body image. It is important to discuss your concerns with your specialist before treatment starts, so that you are aware of any potential problems.
If you are having problems with your sex life after your treatment is over, ask your doctor or nurse for help. If you have a partner, it also helps to be as open as possible with them about how you are feeling. The Cancer Council Victoria booklet called Sexuality, intimacy and cancer may be helpful to read.
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Side Effects Of Prostate Cancer Treatment
The side effects of treatment vary depending on several factors, and they can be distressing. You should talk through options and concerns with your doctor before deciding which treatment to use for your prostate cancer.
Some common side effects of types of treatment include:
- Surgery many men will have temporary urinary incontinence . Almost all men will have a change to their sexual function and most men will have erectile dysfunction .
- Radiotherapy a small number of men will have bowel problems. Between 40 and 80 per cent of men who have radiotherapy will experience immediate or delayed erectile dysfunction.
- Brachytherapy erectile dysfunction and bowel problems can occur. Some men may experience painful urination and irritation of the bladder for several months after therapy. Urinary incontinence is not usually a problem.
- Hormone therapy side effects may include erectile dysfunction, tiredness, mood changes, hot flushes and loss of sex drive.
Coping with some of these side effects can be very difficult. It is important that you discuss possible side effects with your specialist before treatment.
How Will Treatment Affect My Libido
Prostate cancer may dampen your sex drive. Knowing that you have cancer and going through treatment can both cause you to feel too anxious to have sex.
Hormone therapy used to treat prostate cancer can also affect your libido. This treatment slows prostate cancer growth by lowering testosterone levels in your body. You need testosterone to have a healthy sex drive. Hormone therapy can also affect your self-esteem and sex drive by making you gain weight or causing your breast tissue to enlarge. If your hormone levels are low, your doctor may be able to prescribe testosterone replacement therapy to bring them back up to normal. This depends on your overall cancer treatment plan.
2013 study , about 3 percent of participants reported that they had a reduced penis size after radical prostatectomy or radiation plus hormone therapy. The men said their smaller penis affected their relationships and their satisfaction with life.
For men who do experience this, the change in size is generally half an inch or less. This decrease in size may be due to tissues shrinking in the penis. These tissues may shrink because of nerve and blood vessel damage.
If youre concerned about this side effect, ask your doctor about taking a drug for an erectile dysfunction , such as Cialis or Viagra. The increased blood flow from these drugs may help prevent your penis from getting smaller. Theyll also help with acquiring and maintaining an erection.
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Are Prostate Problems Always A Sign Of Prostate Cancer
Not all growths in the prostate are cancerous, and not all prostate problems indicate cancer. Other conditions that cause similar prostate cancer symptoms include:
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia : At some point, almost every man will develop benign prostatic hyperplasia . This condition enlarges the prostate gland but doesnt increase cancer risk. The swollen gland squeezes the urethra and blocks the flow of semen and urine. Medications, and sometimes surgery, can help.
- Prostatitis: Men younger than 50 are more prone to prostatitis, inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland. Bacterial infections are often the cause. Treatments include antibiotics or other medications.
Tests Used To Check The Prostate
This first step lets your doctor hear and understand the story of your prostate concerns. Youll be asked whether you have symptoms, how long youve had them, and how much they affect your lifestyle. Your personal medical history also includes any risk factors, pain, fever, or trouble passing urine. You may be asked to give a urine sample for testing.
The Gleason score functions as a measurement of the aggressiveness of prostate cancer.
Aggressiveness is the medical term used to describe the likelihood of the tumor spreading outside the prostate gland.
You will get receive a Gleason score after having a prostate biopsy.
Your doctor may recommend a biopsy if your PSA level rises or there is cause for concern after your annual checkup or a digital rectal exam , such as an increase in prostate volume or nodules and legions.
Modern biopsies are typically performed using transrectal ultrasound guidance, whereas older methods were unassisted these are called random needle biopsies. By using ultrasound guidance, the doctor can take a more accurate and evenly distributed sample from the prostate gland.
Normally twelve separate cores are extracted. After which they are sent to a laboratory.
At the laboratory, a pathologist examines the tissue cores using a microscope to see if they contain cancerous cells.
Your Gleason score is made up of two of these guidelines, and therefore, your score can range from two to ten.
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How Doctors Find Metastatic Prostate Cancer
When you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor will order tests such as:
- MRI scans
- PET scans
These tests may focus on your skeleton and in your belly and pelvic areas. That way doctors can check for signs that the cancer has spread.
If you have symptoms such as bone pain and broken bones for no reason, your doctor may order a bone scan. It can show if you have signs of cancer spread in your bones.
Your doctor will also ask for blood tests, including a check of PSA levels, to look for other signs that the cancer is spreading.
PSA is a protein made by the prostate gland. A rise in PSA is one of the first signs your cancer may be growing. But PSA levels can also be high without there being cancer, such as if you have an enlarged prostate a prostate infection, trauma to the perineum, or sexual activity can also cause PSA level to be high.
If youve been treated, especially if a surgeon removed your prostate, your PSA levels should start to go down. Doctors usually wait seve,ral weeks after surgery before checking PSA levels. A rise in PSA after treatment may suggest the possibility cancer is back or spreading. In that case, your doctor may order the same tests used to diagnose the original cancer, including a CT scan, MRI, or bone scan. The radiotracer Axumin could be used along with a PET scan to help detect and localize any recurrent cancer.
Though very rare, its possible to have metastatic prostate cancer without a higher-than-normal PSA level.
Drugs To Treat Cancer Spread To Bone
If prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it almost always goes to the bones first. These areas of cancer spread can cause pain and weak bones that might break. Medicines that can help strengthen the bones and lower the chance of fracture are bisphosphonates and denosumab. Sometimes, radiation, radiopharmaceuticals, or pain medicines are given for pain control.
Side effects of bone medicines
A serious side effect of bisphosphonates and denosumab is damage to the jaw, also called osteonecrosis of the jaw . Most people will need to get approval from their dentist before starting one of these drugs.
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When A Cure For Your Prostate Cancer Isnt Possible
If the cancer has spread and it is not possible to cure it with surgery, your doctor may still recommend treatment that focuses on improving quality of life by relieving the symptoms . Medications can be used to relieve pain, nausea and vomiting. The Cancer Council Victoria booklet called Living with advanced cancer may be helpful to read.
Where Does Prostate Cancer Spread
The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is the bones. It can also spread to the lymph nodes, liver and lungs and other organs.
A large tumour in the prostate gland can spread into or press on areas around the prostate, such as the back passage or urethra. The urethra is the tube which carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Advanced Prostate Cancer And Bone Metastases
When cancer cells spread to the bones, the condition weakens the very frame on which the body rests. The cells interfere with the strength and hardness of the bones structure, interrupting its normal cycle of building up and dissolving.
Theres no cure for advanced prostate cancer, but theres a lot that doctors can do to help with the symptoms that might develop. This includes managing pain. A common misconception is that if theres cancer in the bone, there must be pain, Tagawa says. Thats not true. Cancer can be in the bone without pain. However, if there is pain, he says, it can be controlled with anticancer therapies and pain medication, and good quality of life can be maintained.
In addition to pain, some men with bone metastases develop a condition called hypercalcemia, in which, because of the damage to bones from the cancer cells, too much calcium builds up in the blood. Hypercalcemia can make you feel constipated, thirsty, sleepy, or sluggish, and it can increase the urge to urinate, according to the ACS. Over time, hypercalcemia can cause muscle and joint achiness, as well as weakness in the muscles. In advanced stages, it can cause the kidneys to shut down.
There are treatments for hypercalcemia as well as for other complications from advanced prostate cancer, such as bones that become weak and break or fracture, and for growths in the spine that can press on the spinal cord and damage nerves.
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What Is The Prognosis For People Who Have Prostate Cancer
Because prostate cancer tends to grow slowly, most men die from something other than the disease. Early detection is key to better outcomes. Almost all men 97% to 98% diagnosed with localized cancer that hasnt spread outside of the prostate live at least five years after diagnosis. When metastatic cancer has spread outside of the gland, one-third of men continue to survive after five years.
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How Will I Know That My Hormone Therapy Is Working
Doctors cannot predict how long hormone therapy will be effective in suppressing the growth of any individual mans prostate cancer. Therefore, men who take hormone therapy for more than a few months are regularly tested to determine the level of PSA in their blood. An increase in PSA level may indicate that a mans cancer has started growing again. A PSA level that continues to increase while hormone therapy is successfully keeping androgen levels extremely low is an indicator that a mans prostate cancer has become resistant to the hormone therapy that is currently being used.
Risks And Causes Of Prostate Cancer
The exact causes of prostate cancer are unknown. However, there are some risk factors we know about, including:
- getting older more than half of all cases are diagnosed in men over 70 years of age
- family history having a family history of prostate cancer. Your risk is increased if you have a father or brother who had prostate cancer. The risk becomes greater if they were diagnosed at an early age
- family history of breast cancer having a strong family history of breast cancer
- obesity having a waist circumference of 100 cm or greater could increase your risk.
Researchers are constantly looking at ways to help prevent cancer. Eating a healthy diet can lower your risk of many cancers. Research has found foods containing lycopenes and selenium probably reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopenes are found mainly in tomatoes and tomato-based foods, and selenium is naturally found in plant foods such as vegetables, fish and wheatgerm. However, we need more long-term research results to prove this.
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Metastatic Effects On Other Organs
The presence of prostate cancer in other organs and tissues can interfere with the organs ability to carry out its normal functions. Cancerous cells can have an abnormally high metabolic rate. As such, when present in other tissues, they may dominate the supply of nutrients to that organ, essentially starving the host organ. This, coupled with structural changes the growing tumor makes, can alter the function of the host organ. If you or someone you know has questions about prostate cancer and its effects on the body, voice your concerns with your primary care doctor or urologist. Understanding how prostate cancer works and knowing effects of prostate cancer on body can be a great way to play an active role in its treatment.
Diagnosis Of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is diagnosed using a number of tests, which may include:
- Prostate-specific antigen test the prostate makes a protein called PSA. Large quantities of PSA in the blood can indicate prostate cancer or other prostate problems.
- Digital rectal examination using a gloved finger in the rectum, the doctor feels for enlargement and irregularities of the prostate.
- Biopsy six to 12 tissue samples are taken from the prostate and examined in a laboratory for the presence of cancer cells.
If prostate cancer is diagnosed, more tests may be needed to see if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. These may include computed tomography scans, magnetic resonance imaging scans and bone scans.
Test results can take a few days to come back. It is very natural to feel anxious while waiting to get your results. It can help to talk to a close friend or relative about how you are feeling. You can also contact the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 and speak with a cancer nurse.
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Urine Leakage During Ejaculation
Climacturia is the term used to describe the leakage of urine during orgasm. This is fairly common after prostate surgery, but it might not even be noticed. The amount of urine varies widely anywhere from a few drops to more than an ounce. It may be more common in men who also have stress incontinence.
Urine is not dangerous to the sexual partner, though it may be a bother during sex. The leakage tends to get better over time, and condoms and constriction bands can help. If you or your partner is bothered by climacturia, talk to your doctor to learn what you can do about it.
Soreness In The Groin
When prostate cancer spreads, its common for cancer cells to go to your lymph nodes and then move to more areas of your body. The lymph nodes are a network of glands that help your body filter fluids and fight infections.
There are several lymph nodes in your groin. These are the ones closest to your prostate, so its common for the cancer to spread to them first. Cancer cells prevent your lymph nodes from draining fluid and working properly. When this happens, your lymph nodes swell. As a result, you might experience pain or soreness in the area.
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Prostate Cancer Nutrition And Dietary Supplements Health Professional Version
On This Page
This cancer information summary provides an overview of the use of various foods and dietary supplements for reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer or for treating prostate cancer. This summary includes the history of research, reviews of laboratory and animal studies, and results of clinical trials on the following foods or dietary supplements:
Prostate cancer is the most common noncutaneous cancer affecting men in the United States. On the basis of data from 2014 to 2016, it is estimated that 11.6% of U.S. men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes.
Many studies suggest that complementary and alternative medicine use is common among prostate cancer patients, and the use of vitamins, supplements, and specific foods is frequently reported by these patients. For example, the Prostate CAncer Therapy Selection study was a prospective study that investigated mens decision-making processes about treatment following a diagnosis of local-stage prostate cancer. As part of this study, patients completed surveys regarding CAM use, and more than half of the respondents reported using one or more CAM therapies, with mind-body modalities and biologically based treatments being the most commonly used.