What You Should know About Prostate Cancer

Men have a small gland shaped like a walnut called the prostate. It plays a vital role when men have sex. One of the most common types of cancer men develop is prostate cancer. It is not unusual for this type of cancer to grow slowly and stay within the prostate gland. In many cases, it will not cause serious harm. There are some forms of prostate cancer that are aggressive. They can grow and spread to other parts of the body.

A person should contact a physician if they have difficulty stopping or initiating urination, frequent urination, pain when urinating, bone pain or fractures. They should also seek an examination if they experience a decreased speed of their urine flow, erectile dysfunction and more.

The majority of men who have prostate cancer will not have any noticeable symptoms. This happens most often in the early stages of the disease. A man will begin to experience some type of symptoms when a tumor begins to cause a blockage of their urethra or bladder. This is known as urinary symptoms. A man’s urinary stream may significantly decrease or only dribble out. It will leave him feeling his bladder is still full. These symptoms will require testing to confirm the presence of prostate cancer. This could also indicate enlargement of the prostate or other physical problems caused by noncancerous sources.

Risk Factors
There are a number of risk factors that can influence a person’s chance of developing prostate cancer. The risk increases as men get older. Black men are at the greatest risk for prostate cancer when compared to other races. A person’s family history will also influence the chance of developing prostate cancer. If people in a person’s family have prostate cancer, they will have an increased risk of developing it. Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are often obese, which leads researchers to believe obesity does play a part in developing prostate cancer.

Treatment Options
The most effective type of prostate cancer treatment will be determined by a few different factors. This would include how fast the cancer is growing, if it has spread to other parts of the body as well as a person’s overall health. The side effects of a course of treatment, as well as the potential benefits, should all be considered when deciding a treatment option.

Active Surveillance
A man diagnosed with a form of low-risk prostate cancer may not need immediate treatment. When this is the situation, a physician may recommend active surveillance as their treatment. This could involve regular rectal exams as well as follow-up blood tests and biopsies if necessary.

In some cases, surgery to remove the cancerous prostate, as well as lymph nodes and some surrounding tissue, may be necessary. This is known as a radical prostatectomy. The procedure could result in erectile dysfunction as well as urinary incontinence.

Radiation Therapy
This is very effective in some situations. During this procedure, high-powered energy is used to kill cancer cells. The side effects of radiation therapy could be urination that is frequent as well as painful. It could also cause a person to have loose stools or experience pain when they pass their stools. It may also cause a person to experience erectile dysfunction.

Hormone Therapy
This is for men who have an advanced form of prostate cancer. Medication will be used to stop a person’s body from making testosterone, which is a male hormone. Testosterone helps prostate cancer to grow. Significantly decreasing or eliminating a body’s supply of testosterone can result in cancer cells dying or dramatically slowing their growth. The common side effects of this treatment include a decreased sex drive, weight gain, hot flashes, loss of bone mass as well as erectile dysfunction and more.

This treatment involves freezing the cancer cells of the prostate. It treats the prostate with cycles of freezing and thawing. It can successfully kill cancer cells as well as a small portion of surrounding healthy tissue. This treatment option is only available to individuals who have not been helped by other types of treatments. Side effects can include bleeding, headaches as well as lesions.

This treatment involves using drugs to kill cancer cells that are growing quickly. It can be given in pill form, through a vein in a person’s arm or both. Side effects can involve hair loss, constipation, nausea and more.

This is known as biological therapy and is a way to help the immune system in a person’s body fight the cancer cells. It involves takes a person’s immune cells and genetically engineering them to fight prostate cancer and injecting them back into the person’s body. Side effects can involve nausea, fatigue, chills and more.

It is important men regularly get screened for prostate cancer. This should start when they are in their 50s or sooner if they are at a high risk of developing it. The risks and benefits of screenings should be discussed with a physician to determine what is best for a person’s individual situation.


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