Warning Signs Of Prostate Cancer What Are The Common Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
A large number of men who have prostate cancer do not experience visible signs and symptoms in the early stages of the disease. However, the moment the prostate gland becomes enlarged, this is when a variety of pains and discomforts can occur, including:
- The urge to urinate more frequently than usual
- Painful urination
- Pain and discomfort in the pelvic region
- Bone and joint pain
- Trouble getting and maintaining erections for sex
- Reduce libido or sex drive
Once you come upon these signs and symptoms, you should go visit your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and immediate treatment of prostate cancer can save you from a lot of serious complications that can significantly lower the quality of your life.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have prostate cancer, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I get prostate cancer?
- What is my Gleason score? What is my Grade Group? What do these numbers mean for me?
- Has the cancer spread outside of the prostate gland?
- What is the best treatment for the stage of prostate cancer I have?
- If I choose active surveillance, what can I expect? What signs of cancer should I look out for?
- What are the treatment risks and side effects?
- Is my family at risk for developing prostate cancer? If so, should we get genetic tests?
- Am I at risk for other types of cancer?
- What type of follow-up care do I need after treatment?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Prostate cancer is a common cancer that affects males. Most prostate cancers grow slowly and remain in the prostate gland. For a small number, the disease can be aggressive and spread quickly to other parts of the body. Men with slow-growing prostate cancers may choose active surveillance. With this approach, you can postpone, and sometimes completely forego, treatments. Your healthcare provider can discuss the best treatment option for you based on your Gleason score and Group Grade.
What Can Be Done To Address This Issue In Prostate Cancer Patients
Prostate cancers are not rare, but it is one of those cancers in which the patient has several treatment options to make the decision from. Unfortunately, almost all prostate cancer treatments are associated with wide range of side effects, but educating the patient in advance about different management options can help in improving the outcome.
Besides educating the patients about the risk of complications, healthcare providers should also share different therapies and solutions. For example, penile implants can offer great relief and satisfaction to the patients who are concerned about the penis size or are experiencing sexual dysfunction after the cancer therapy. Besides penile implants, a variety of other devices and pharmacological regimens are also available that can address symptoms in these patients. According to a new study reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine , investigators suggested that Vacuum erection devices are becoming the main-stay treatments for the management of sexual dysfunction after prostate cancer therapy with an added benefit of facilitating the rehabilitation of penile tissues. Various clinical studies indicates that the use of VED after prostate cancer therapy is associated with a significant improvement in the length and girth of penis. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about the penis shrinkage due to prostate cancer therapy.
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Prostate Cancer Treatment: Prostate Cancer Surgery
Radical prostatectomy is the surgical removal of the prostate gland. Usually, this treatment is performed when the cancer is located only in the prostate gland. New surgical techniques help avoid damage to nerves, but the surgery may still have the side effects of erectile dysfunction and impaired urinary control. However, these side effects may gradually improve in some patients. Surgeons today may use robotic technique to assist in the operation.
Tips: Coping With Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a common complication for men following prostate cancer surgery, and this problem can persist even five years after the surgery takes place. In one survey of 111 men published in 2003, 69% reported incontinence after prostate surgery. Most of these men used pelvic muscle exercises to help. Many used containment devices, including pads, special underwear, and sanitary napkins to manage incontinence.
Here are some post-surgical incontinence tips:
What Should I Think About When Deciding On Treatment
There are several things to think about when deciding which treatment is right for you. You may want to talk with your doctors about:
- How likely your cancer is to grow, spread, or cause other problems in your lifetime
- Which type of treatment might be best for you
- The trade-offs between possible benefits and possible side effects of the treatments
- Discussing treatment options with your partner or other family members
- How often you will need to see your doctor for treatment
Ask your doctors
- How long may I live with my cancer?
- How likely is my cancer to grow and spread?
- Is watchful waiting or active surveillance an option for me?
- If I use active surveillance, how often should I come in for checkups? What will we do if the cancer starts to grow or spread?
- Which treatment do you think might be best for me based on my age, risk level, and other health issues?
- What is the chance that the treatment might help me to live longer?
- What will my quality of life be with the treatment?
- What side effects of treatment should I watch for and how will they be managed?
- How might treatment affect my sex life?
- If I have surgery to remove my prostate gland, how long might it take to recover?
- Are there local support groups I can join?
Also Check: Prostate Disease Definition
What Will Happen After Treatment
Youll be glad when treatment is over. But its hard not to worry about cancer coming back. When cancer comes back it is called a recurrence. Even when cancer never comes back, people still worry about it. For years after treatment ends, you will see your cancer doctor. At first, your visits may be every few months. Then, the longer youre cancer-free, the less often the visits are needed.
Be sure to go to all follow-up visits. Your doctors will ask about your symptoms, examine you, and might order blood tests and maybe other tests to see if the cancer has come back.
Having cancer and dealing with treatment can be hard, but it can also be a time to look at your life in new ways. You might be thinking about how to improve your health. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or talk to your doctor to find out what you can do to feel better.
You cant change the fact that you have cancer. What you can change is how you live the rest of your life, making healthy choices and feeling as good as you can.
Recurrent Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Prostate cancer that returns after treatment is considered recurrent. When it returns to the area around the prostate, the disease is classified as a local recurrence. If the cancer is found in another part of the body, the recurrent cancer is considered metastatic. If the cancer metastasizes outside the prostate, it most likely develops in bones first. Metastatic prostate cancer most often spreads to the liver, bones and lungs.
After initial treatment for prostate cancer, PSA levels are expected to drop dramatically. The first sign of recurrent prostate cancer may be a rise in the PSA level. Other symptoms of recurrent cancer may depend on whether and where the cancer has spread. Symptoms include:
- Blood in the urine
- Difficulty breathing
Patients should discuss any symptoms with their doctor and ask about scheduling regular PSA tests after treatment.
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The Role Of Trained Nursing Staff In The Psychological Well
Trained nursing staff form an integral part of any oncology unit. They often spend more time with the patient and his family members than the treating doctor does. Very often family members may pose many questions to the nursing staff rather than the treating doctor and it is essential that correct answers are received. The nurse managing a patient with prostate cancer must be trained and equipped with the knowledge of various treatment modalities used in the management of the disease and the various side effects that may arise post treatment. This may help in alerting the clinician if any of the side effects ensue. The nurse must also be equipped to deal psychologically with the patient and help allay his anxieties and fears regarding treatments and long-term outcomes. Handling anxious relatives who are overconcerned should also be part of one’s nursing skills. Knowledge about the longitudinal course of prostate cancer, urinary and sexual complications, chemotherapy and its side effects, along with psychological issues that arise in prostate cancer, may assist a patient in getting the required help when such complications occur. The nurse may be effective in screening patients who need psychological help, psychosocial interventions and support group enrollment, and may thus direct the patient and relatives correctly. Symptom assessment done in a proper manner by nursing staff may aid the clinician in a valuable manner in planning further interventions for any patient.
Early Stage Prostate Cancer
If the cancer is small and localized, a doctor may recommend:
Watchful waiting or monitoring
The doctor may check PSA blood levels regularly but take no immediate action.
Prostate cancer grows slowly, and the risk of side effects may outweigh the need for immediate treatment.
A surgeon may carry out a prostatectomy. They can remove the prostate gland using either laparoscopic or open surgery.
Brachytherapy: A doctor will implant radioactive seeds into the prostate to deliver targeted radiation treatment.
Conformal radiation therapy: This targets a specific area, minimizing the risk to healthy tissue. Another type, called intensity modulated radiation therapy, uses beams with variable intensity.
Treatment will depend on various factors. A doctor will discuss the best option for the individual.
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Some General Issues In Prostate Cancer
Patient education is of paramount importance in prostate cancer because often screening results in a high likelihood that further testing, treatment and treatment-related decision making would be warranted. Urologists may at times underestimate the psychiatric comorbidity in prostate cancer, and there are many patients that have a few isolated symptoms that have not been diagnosed and hence may not receive treatment. Anxious preoccupations and strained marital relationships with spouses have been reported. Body image, spouse affection, spouse worry, along with cancer distress and cancer acceptance were some other anxiety-related areas causing psychological distress in prostate cancer., , It is essential that urologists receive training in the screening and identification of various psychological problems seen in prostate cancer to enable faster diagnosis and referral to the psychiatry unit for prompt management in such cases.
Risk Factors For Prostate And Testicular Disorders
While these men over 50 years old are at highest risk of developing prostate disorders and men between the ages of 20 and 54 are most at risk of developing testicular problems, age is just one of the factors that can increase a manâs risk of developing prostate and testicular disorders. Other risk factors include:
- Diet and weight â Eating a high-fat diet or being overweight or obese can increase mens testosterone levels, which in turn increases the risk of developing prostate and testicular health conditions.
- Ethnicity â African American men have a higher risk than men of other ethnicities of developing prostate disorders, and Caucasian males are most likely to develop testicular disorders.
- Family history â If a mans father or brother has suffered from a prostate or testicular disorder, he has a particularly high risk of developing the same condition.
- Testosterone levels â Men on testosterone therapy or who have naturally high levels of testosterone are more likely to develop prostate and testicular disorders.
- Other factors such as whether or not a man smokes, has contracted HIV or has undescended testicles contribute to his risk for developing testicular problems.
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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.
Tests Used To Check The Prostate
This first step lets your doctor hear and understand the “story” of your prostate concerns. You’ll be asked whether you have symptoms, how long you’ve 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.
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The Gleason Score: What Does It Mean
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.
If the pathologist finds evidence of prostate cancer cells in the sample, he will attempt to match your samples with Gleason guidelines. These guidelines are scored between one and five.
Your Gleason score is made up of two of these guidelines, and therefore, your score can range from two to ten.
It is then put into a pathology report sometimes called a biopsy report, that will be sent to your primary care physician.
What Are Male Sex Hormones
Androgens are required for normal growth and function of the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system that helps make semen. Androgens are also necessary for prostate cancers to grow. Androgens promote the growth of both normal and cancerous prostate cells by binding to and activating the androgen receptor, a protein that is expressed in prostate cells . Once activated, the androgen receptor stimulates the expression of specific genes that cause prostate cells to grow .
Almost all testosterone is produced in the testicles a small amount is produced by the adrenal glands. Although prostate cells do not normally make testosterone, some prostate cancer cells acquire the ability to do so .
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.
Male Fertility And Infertility
Fertility refers to having the ability to conceive, or being able to have a child. For males, fertility means they are able to father a child through normal sexual activity. A persons fertility depends on their reproductive organs working as they should and other factors, such as when and how often they are having sex, certain hormones, and if their partner has any problems with fertility.
When a person cannot have a child, this is called infertility, or being infertile. For males, infertility means they are not able to father a child through normal sexual activity. Doctors usually consider a person infertile when they have not been able to conceive a child after 12 or more months of regular sexual activity.
Problems with fertility can also be called reproductive problemsoralterations. They happen when certain hormone levels are abnormally low or high or if reproduction organs are removed or arent working properly. Some people never find out why they are having fertility problems. Many experts believe stress and anxiety can cause changes that play a part in infertility.
People with certain types of cancer or who are getting treatment for cancer may have fertility problems. Children and teenagers who have cancer are often of special concern. You can read more about specific adult and childhood cancers in Cancer A to Z and can learn more about how fertility might be affected in How Cancer and Cancer Treatment Can Affect Fertility.
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