Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of male cancer and the main cause of death from cancer in man over 70 years old.
Prostate cancer is usually developed by men over the age of 50 although those under this age can also be affected.
It can affect only males since prostate is a small gland which is part of male reproductive system containing and making seminal fluid. It is located in the pelvis, between urinary bladder and rectum.
Prostate cancer is a tumor occurring when prostate cells mutate into cancer cells. These cells are multiplying abnormally causing urination and ejaculation problems. If not treated it can easily spread to other body parts especially bones and lymph nodes. This condition is known as metastasis.
Many cases of prostate cancers are not lethal and since it almost always affects older people many man will die from some other disease because prostate cancer usually take a long time to develop.
As with many other cancers main cause of prostate cancer is unknown but it seems to be combination of age, genetic and diet factors. Also higher level of testosterone (steroid hormone primarily secreted in the testes) may increase chances for developing prostate cancer.
Symptoms of prostate cancer may include: frequent and hard urination especially at night, bloody urine, pain during urination, sexual problems including painful ejaculation and problems with erection, abdominal and/or lower back pain, pain during bowel movements, dribbling after urination.
If cancer metastasis is present it can cause bone pain especially in the area of the spine, pelvis and ribs.
Besides its life-threatening nature this form of cancer may be very difficult to handle for some people because it's one of the leading causes of impotence in older men.
At the early stages of prostate cancer disease usually has no symptoms, so it is usually detected by routine checks. Screening test can not make diagnosis but it can indicate an increased risk for cancer. Thus if there is suspicion of cancer the only way for fully confirmation of the diagnosis is biopsy of prostate tissue. This piece of prostate can be obtained via the rectum and examined under a microscope. This is very simply and routine procedure very rarely requiring hospitalization.
Early detection is very important for effective treatment which may include watchful waiting, surgery (main and most effective type of treatment including complete removal of the prostate, also known as prostatectomy), radiotherapy, HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound), cryosurgery or some combination of those methods. Hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are usually included if cancer has spread to other organs.
Prevention of prostate cancer can be performed by regular intake of vitamin E and selenium. Soybeans containing estrogens can also reduce chances for developing prostate cancer. Healthy diet (rich in fiber) and reduction of meat intake is also recommended especially in genetically predispositioned individuals.