Prostate is a male reproductive gland which is located beneath the bladder and surrounds the upper part of the urethra. It produces semen. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer observed in men and the second most common cancer in the world.
Risk factors of prostate cancer
The following factors increase the risk of acquiring prostate cancer:
- Age: Most cases are reported in men above 60 years of age
- Ethnicity: African American men are more likely to have prostate cancer
- Family history: Men with family history of prostate cancer are more likely to have prostate cancer
- Diet: Men who consume lots of red meat are likely to have prostate cancer.
- Occupation: Battery manufacturers, welder and other professionals who are constantly exposed to chemicals like cadmium are more likely to have prostate cancer.
- Obesity: Obese or overweight men are more likely to have prostate cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer and the symptoms are not evident until it has reached an advanced stage. The signs and symptoms that may indicate prostate cancer include:
- Urinary incontinence
- Uneasiness in the pelvic region
- Painful micturition
- Painful ejaculation
- Decreased pressure of urine outflow
- Blood in urine
- Blood in semen
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased frequency of urination (even during sleep)
Prostate cancer, if detected early can increase the rate of survival greatly. A digital rectal examination is the first test to detect abnormalities in the structure of the prostate gland. In this test, the physician inserts his finger into the rectum through the anus and assesses the changes in the shape, size and texture of the prostate gland. Other diagnostic tests for confirmation of prostate cancer include:
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: PSA is a protein found in blood which is formed by the prostate gland. This test measures the levels of PSA in blood. Increase in the levels of PSA in the bloodstream may indicate inflammation, infection or cancer of the prostate gland.
- Ultrasound scan: Ultrasound scan uses sound waves to obtain a detailed image of the prostate gland. In this scan, the ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum. The scan helps in determining the presence of a tumor. However, it is not helpful to determine if the tumor is cancerous.
- Biopsy: It is a procedure wherein a small sample of the prostate gland is collected to be studied under the microscope. Biopsy results would indicate the tumor is benign or malignant. This test would also provide information regarding the characteristics of the cancer cells which would help in better planning of the treatment.
Staging of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer can be classified into various stages based on the size and the extent of spread of tumor. Staging of prostate cancer helps in determining the aggressiveness of the tumor and to decide the best possible treatment for the patient. The staging of prostate cancer depends on Gleason’s score (ranges in between 2-10) that helps in determining the stage of cancer-based on:
- Bone scan
- Ultrasound scan
- MRI/ CT/ PET scan
- Complete blood cell (CBC) count
Treatment of prostate cancer
Depending on the location and the stage of cancer, prostate cancer can be treated by the following methods:
Chemotherapeutic drugs are used to kill and prevent the growth of cancer cells.
High-intensity radiations are used to kill the cancer cells. This therapy is usually recommended in combination with chemotherapy.
Surgery is performed by making an incision in the lower abdomen. The surgery is performed by removal of the prostate gland (radical prostatectomy) and the surrounding tissues and the affected lymph nodes.
It is also called as hormone-blocking therapy that inhibits the release of certain hormones that can aggravate the growth and spread of prostate cancer. This therapy is also used in combination with other treatment procedures such as surgery to prevent the recurrence of cancer.
- Lifestyle modifications: A proper diet with good sleep helps boost the immunity and prevents the risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Early detection: Having annual health check-ups after the age of 40 helps in early detection and treatment of prostate cancer.
Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?
We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.
For appointments, please call 4444 2424.
- Prostate cancer. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostate-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20353087. Accessed on 24/10/2017
- PSA. https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/psa/tab/test/. Accessed on 24/10/2017
- Prostate cancer. https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/psa-fact-sheet. Accessed on 24/10/2017