Prostate Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment

Cellular regeneration is essential for the body to repair and be healthy but this essential process becomes worrisome when these very cells start to grow unchecked and unwanted.  This growth of cells is known as cancer. Found only in males, the prostate gland is found wrapped around the urethra at the point of its exit at the bladder. The prostate cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells around this gland which interferes with the working on the normal cells. This is a common type of cancer and is usually benign and is found mainly in men who are 50 years or above. While this type of cancer is not harmful for its growth rate is slow, there are cases when the cancer turned malignant. So, it is better to be equipped with knowledge about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

What are the symptoms?

While there is no immediate need to worry, symptoms of prostate cancer is not always evident. Another fact that is also to be kept in consideration is that often prostate cancer symptom and that of a case of enlarged prostate or BPH (benign prostate hernia) are similar hence visiting a doctor is well advised if you show any of these symptoms:

  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Blood in urine or semen in urine
  • Straining to empty bladder
  • Dripping
  • A burning sensation or acute pain while urinating
  • Urge to urinate frequently at night

While these might also mean a prostate infection or is better to go see a doctor for waiting too long can cause the cancer to progress to the next state and symptoms of those are:

  • Fatigue
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fluid buildup at legs and feet
  • Pain at hips, shoulders, legs and bones
  • Bowel habit changes

What is the diagnosis?

Age is not the only factor that affects the man’s chances for having prostate cancer – family history and genetics too play a role and hence there is a considerable amount of debate regarding the need for prostate cancer screening in men above 50s to prevent the stages to progress. Screening includes rectal examination and prostate specific antigen test.  Diagnosing for prostate cancer is required when the screening test shows any abnormality. Further tests include trans-rectal ultrasound where a probe is inserted in the rectum and sound waves are created that captures images of the prostate. Prostate biopsy is a method where tissues are collected from the prostate for further inspection.

Prostate Cancer Treatment

The very first thought that people have when they learn that they have is that they need to undergo radiation therapy and go for operation. The fact is, many a case comes across where immediate treatments are not required for prostate cancer is usually benign and slow spreading. In case the cancer has spread or threatens to turn malignant, there are a few proven treatments that have been proven effective:

  • Hormone therapy effectively helps stunt the growth of cancer cells by hindering testosterone production. The cancer cells spread through the testosterone hormone and by using luteinizing hormone – release hormone that prevents testicles from producing testosterone.
  • Surgically removing testicles is also an option but only if you are not wary of operations.
  • Radiation therapy is quick and painless and effective in treating first stage prostate cancer. Either you can opt for external radiation or go for brachytherapy where a radiation seed is placed near the prostate that will deliver low dosages of radiation over a time.
  • Another method gaining popularity is immunotherapy. This process simply uses the immune system to fight the cancerous cells with the usage of sipuleucel-T. The process includes the usage of part of the host’s immune cells and are genetically altered to be able to fight prostate cancer.