When you have prostate cancer, cancer cells or malignant tumours develop in the prostate gland. The prostate gland is below the bladder, and surrounding the urethra’s top portion. Cancer of the prostate can spread to other body parts, including the lungs and bones, via the lymphatic system.
Symptoms and Early Detection
During its early stages, cancers of the prostate normally don’t exhibit symptoms and will only be detected via regular examination of the rectum and anus. The symptoms normally manifest during the later stages when the tumour gets bigger and makes the urethra narrow, while the cancer starts spreading to other body parts. Common symptoms include the following:
- More regular urination, most noticeable at night
- Intermittent or weak flow of urine
- Pain or difficulty when urinating
- Blood in semen or urine
- Persistent pelvic, hip or back pain
- Pain when ejaculating
However, the above symptoms may also indicate other noncancerous or benign conditions, including prostatitis and prostatic hyperplasia. The National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) says the only way to determine if you have prostate, colorectal or other kinds of cancer is through regular testing and screening procedures, which includes the following:
- PSA or Prostate Specific Antigen Level Test – The PSA blood test determines your PSA level. A higher level than what experts deem normal for you may indicate cancer.
- Digital Rectal Exam – This is an examination of the rectum to check for any irregularities.
- Biopsy – Experts will examine prostate tissue sample to check for cancerous cells.
When diagnosed with the cancer, your doctor will conduct a bone scan and abdomen scan to check for the presence of cancer in your other body parts.
Cancer of the prostate isn’t caused by anything specific, but plenty of studies have indicated that there are common risk factors such as:
- Age – men older than 55 years of age are more susceptible
- Race – Scandinavians and African Americans are more at risk
- A previous vasectomy
- A diet with excessive red meat and unhealthy fats
- A history of cancer of the prostate in the family
In general, prostate cancer isn’t something you can prevent, since its particular cause is still unknown. Keep your prostate healthy by having frequent checkups, getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet.