Cancer is a condition that none of us would ever want to have. No matter how healthy you think you are, there is always that remote possibility that you would contract cancer. In the case of prostate cancer, men are obviously the ones that are affected. In this article, we would be discussing the basics of prostate cancer, it’s most common signs and symptoms and the diagnostic procedures employed to identify the condition.
Cancer of the prostate gland happens when cancer cells develop in the prostate. This is a gland found at the bottom of the urinary bladder. A normal sized prostate would be around the size of a walnut. As men grow older, it is normal for the prostate to also enlarge. However, abnormal enlargement of the prostate that is caused by imbalances in the hormones is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH. This is different from prostate cancer in a way that BPH can be operated on and does not metastasize. Treatment for prostate cancer would involve the use of surgery, chemotherapeutic drugs and/or radiation.
In prostate cancer, cancer cells gather in the area and slowly grow into a cancerous tumor. The cancer cells might have been there for a while before any symptoms become evident. However, not all symptoms are similar and not all cancer cells act the same way. There are those that proliferate fast, while there are others that progress more slowly. The aggressiveness of cancer growth can be measured by the Gleason Score.
Though both cancer of the prostate gland and benign prostatic hyperplasia increase the size of the prostate, medical findings state that they are not related. Factors that might predispose a person to getting prostate cancer would be the following: age, gender, genetics, race, hormones and exposure to toxins.
It is best to know which prostate cancer symptoms to watch out for so that you would be able to get consultation at the soonest time possible. A person with suspected prostate cancer would be found to have a hard nodule in the prostate area during a routine digital rectal exam. In some cases, where the cancer is in its advanced stages, the prostate may become too enlarged that they would impede the flow of urine. For others, they would notice blood in their urine, also called hematuria. This bleeding is painless, a very common sign of cancer. These are the most common symptoms of cancer and this usually prompts patients to seek consultation.
Screening for cancer of the prostate gland would involve getting blood work done. The technologist would be looking for the cancer marker PSA or prostate specific antigen. A result that is higher than 4ng/ml is usually observed in people with prostate cancer.
A digital rectal exam was mentioned earlier. During this exam, an enlarged prostate would be felt by the examiner, and this would prompt for further evaluation.
A biopsy is needed to make an accurate conclusion of prostate cancer. A tissue sample would be sent to the laboratory and they would be testing the sample for cancer cells.
In this day and age of increased pollution and free radicals, cancer is something that most of us are most prone to. It is best to get regular testing in order to spot the disease as soon as possible.