Prostate Cancer

The word cancer itself is a synonym of danger and death. Prostate cancer is a disease that will affect 1 in 6 men over a lifetime. Males over the age of 65 are more often diagnosed with it. Much about ethnicity is linked to the prevalence or likelihood of a man to acquire prostate cancer. According to research, aged African American men have been observed to be more likely to have prostate cancer; in fact the ratio of developing the disease is still as high as 1 in 5. The condition is not as common in Asia or South America, but is common in Europe and North America. Also those who are obese, or maintain a diet high in fat along with lack of exercise, or those who have immediate family members already diagnosed with the disease, are found to be at an even greater risk. It is found over a period of time that the smokers and acute alcoholics are more prone to this kind of cancer than others.

THE PROSTATE GLAND AND CANCER

The male reproductive system contains a series of glands that produce necessary hormones and fluid, as well as a sufficient number of sperm cells. The male urinary system is closely connected with the latter system, and can be collectively called the urogenital system. The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive and urinary system, located beneath the bladder and front of the rectal wall.

Here is a short description of some of the parts of the urogenital system. Nitrogenous wastes in the form of urine are filtered from the kidneys and are collected in the urinary bladder. A duct called the urethra drains the urinary bladder and runs through the length of the body of the penis. The urethra is also the passage of semen and sperm when ejaculation occurs. An important gland that maintains the healthy function of the male urogenital system is the prostate.

Where is the prostate gland and how does it function? Below the urinary bladder is the prostate gland, which is roughly about the size of a chestnut. The urethra coming from the urinary bladder also passes through the prostate gland. During sperm production, the prostate gland secreted fluids that help maintain the motility of the sperm cells. This gland also secreted enzymes which are commonly used in clinical tests to measure the overall health of the urogenital system.

What problems can this gland encounter and what possible complications are there? When the prostate gland enlarges, it narrows the diameter of the urethra, often causing pain when urinating. When abnormal cell division occurs within the prostate gland, cancer can happen. Abnormal cells multiplying within the prostate result in the destruction of healthy tissue and organs. Prostate cancer is a very serious condition. Statistics prove that prostate cancer claims approximately 30,000 lives each year in the United States, which can be considered second most fatal to breast cancer.

There are symptoms that can help determine if a man possibly has prostate cancer. Aside from the painful urination, he may lose the ability to control urinating or stop the flow of urine. Often, he feels the frequent need to urinate, especially at night. Some back aches, pelvic pain or pain in the upper thigh may be experienced.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Early detection is the most successful way to fight the disease, resulting in treatments that offer fewer side effects and reduce the risk of impotence and urinary leakage. It is recommended that men should be introduced to Digital Rectal Examinations or the D.R.E and Prostate Specific Antigen which is also known as the P.S.A tests as part of their annual check up at age 50. Those who are considered to be at higher risk of developing the disease should begin these exams at age 45. Abnormal cells found in the prostate will result in a referral to an Urologist where an ultrasound and biopsy is required. Samples of the tests are then examined by a Pathologist for diagnosis.

What are the treatments for prostate cancer? Today when we are at an epitome of technological advancement, there are a number of treatment options available depending on the age and health of the patient or severity of the condition. If the cancer is minimal or the patient is in poor health, the disease may simply be monitored every 6 months provided it doesn't spread. Early and more aggressive stages of cancer may be treated with such therapies as radiation, hormonal or chemotherapy. Like the other types of cancer, chemotherapy and radiation can help save the lives of many men with this disease. There are also new and traditional surgical procedures available that will eliminate the cancer completely, including removal of the tumor or the prostate gland to prevent the spread of the cancer to other parts of the urogenital system.

Other complication that may occur in men over the age of 50 is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or the B. P. H, which is the rapid growth of non-cancerous cells in the central area of the prostate gland. The enlargement, which occurs along the urinary channel, creates a blockage which makes it difficult for a male to pass urine. Prescription medication or surgery can alleviate the symptoms of B. P. H. It is also recommended that males who have experienced these symptoms receive regular D. R. E. and P. S. A. testing as they are still susceptible to a prostate cancer diagnosis.
 

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