Prostate cancer characteristics

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What is prostate cancer?

Drawing of prostate diseases
Drawing of prostate diseases courtesy of

Prostate cancer is a disease in which uncontrolled proliferation of the cells of this gland occurs, and it usually occurs in elderly men, its appearance being exceptional before 40 years of age.

The prostate, located below the urinary bladder and crossed by the urethra, is part of the male reproductive system and is responsible for producing the seminal fluid.

The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut, although, from the age of 40-45 years, it begins to grow, either benignly, giving rise to what is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, either in a malignant way, then speaking of cancer, which, if not diagnosed and treated early, could infiltrate adjacent tissues or spread remotely (metastasis), which would greatly complicate the prognosis.

How does prostate cancer manifest?

Although in many cases it is almost asymptomatic, the symptoms of prostate cancer, if they appear, would be similar to those of benign prostatic hyperplasia, so more tests will be necessary to determine its cause.

  • Difficulty urinating (due to pressure from the tumor on the urethra)
  • Decreased urination force (weak or interrupted voiding flow)
  • Difficulty passing all urine
  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Frequent and little urination
  • Peeing 2 or 3 times at night
  • Frequent voiding urgency at night
  • Greater difficulty initiating urination
  • Dribbling after urination Urinary incontinence that manifests itself with constant loss of urine
  • Blood in the urine or seminal fluid
  • Aggravation of the above symptoms
  • Blood in the urine or seminal fluid

Prostate cancer diagnosis

Various medical tests may be needed to diagnose prostate cancer and rule out other diseases:

  • Rectal examination: It allows evaluating the size of the prostate and whether there are changes in consistency, edge alterations or surface irregularities. Its effectiveness is limited since if the cancer is small or is in the non-palpable internal areas it can go unnoticed.
  • Blood tests: To determine prostate specific antigen (PSA).
  • Urinalysis: To determine if there are blood remains, urinary infections or other abnormalities.
  • Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) or prostate: It allows obtaining an image of the prostate, so it will be useful to detect small tumors. It can give false positives so it will never be a definitive test.
  • Prostate biopsy: Definitive test to diagnose the disease.

An early diagnosis will be key to increase the success of any treatment.

Prostate cancer treatment

Prostate cancer treatment will depend on the stage of the disease, the aggressiveness of the cancer cells (Gleason score), the levels of PSA at diagnosis and age, general health, life expectancy and patient preferences.

There are treatments for curative purposes, such as surgery (radical prostatectomy or removal of the prostate), radiotherapy or chemotherapy, and others for palliative purposes, and / or as hormonal therapy, to increase survival and quality of life of the patients.

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Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

17 July, 2020

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