General Illness Information
Medical Term: Prostatic carcinoma
Common Name: Prostate cancer
Description: Prostate cancer is a type of cancer developing in the prostate gland.
To date, the causes of prostate cancer are not fully established.
There are risk factors that can influence the development of this disease:
- Age – Older men have an increased risk of developing the disease;
- Race – prostate cancer is more often found in Afro-Americans than in white men and Asians. The reason is not clear;
- Nutrition – the consumption of large amounts of red meat and fatty foods;
- The lack of physical activity can provoke the development of a variety of diseases, including prostate cancer;
- Heredity – the presence of prostate cancer in close relatives (father, brother) increases the chance of prostate cancer 2 times.
Signs & Symptoms:
The early stages of prostate cancer, as a rule, do not have any symptoms. Since prostate cancer is progressing slowly, the disease may remain asymptomatic for several years. The only sign of the disease in the absence of expressed symptoms is the increased amounts of PSA (prostate specific antigen) in the blood. As a rule, in this case the tumor size is insignificant.
Over time, the symptoms become more pronounced:
- difficulty urinating;
- frequent urination;
- urinary incontinence;
- frequent urge to urinate.
In some cases, there may be the following symptoms:
- formation of kidney stones;
- pain in the lumbar region;
- enlargement of ureters and renal cavity.
In the case of bone damage, metastases cause pain in the limbs, and compression of the spinal cord with metastases leads to paralysis and paresthesia. The formation of metastases in other organs leads to a disruption of the functions of the latter.
The symptoms of prostate cancer are non-specific and are expressed in violation of the functions of the affected organs, therefore, in order to prevent uncontrolled development of the disease, regular examinations are needed, especially for men over the age of 50.
Since prostate cancer in early stages does not have clear manifestations, it is necessary to regularly undergo a survey. The obligatory method of diagnosis is a digital rectal examination of the prostate gland, which is carried out by a urologist. In the course of this survey, it is possible to identify the compaction of the prostate, after which additional tests are prescribed:
- determination of PSA level;
- ultrasound of the prostate;
- biopsy of the prostate.
The gold standard of diagnosis and the main screening method is the determination of the level of PSA blood, which allows to speak about the presence or absence of a tumor. However, different inflammatory processes in the prostate gland, prostate adenoma, etc., can affect the level of PSA in the blood, therefore, in order to avoid false positive results, the PSA calculation is performed using several methods that help determine:
- rate of increase in PSA;
- age levels of the PSA level;
- levels of free and bound PSA.
After determining the level of PSA blood, the next stage of diagnosis follows – ultrasound examination of the prostate with a rectal sensor that allows to measure the volume of the prostate gland and to identify the presence of nodal formations and seals.
Prostate biopsy is the main method of confirming the diagnosis. If the case of a negative result, a repeated biopsy is performed
Prostate cancer can also be diagnosed with MRI and CT.
Unfortunately, there are no standard treatment for prostate cancer. The choice of the optimal method of treatment is complicated, because it is necessary to take into account the stage of the development of the disease, the patient’s age, concomitant diseases, possible complications, the results of the tests, and the wishes of the patient.
Basic treatment methods of prostate cancer include:
- Waiting tactics are preferred in elderly men with severe concomitant diseases and slowly growing tumors. In this case, the patient is under constant medical supervision, ultrasound is regularly performed and PSA levels in the blood are examined;
- Radical prostatectomy – surgical treatment of prostate cancer. Radical prostatectomy is the main method of treatment which allows to maintain the normal sexual function;
- Radiation therapy is used to destroy malignant tissue and disrupt the DNA structure of irradiated cells, so that they lose the ability to reproduce.
- Cryotherapy is the destruction of a tumor with low temperatures. The best results are achieved with a small tumor and with a combination of cryotherapy and hormonal treatment;
- Hormone therapy – treatment with hormonal drugs. This method is used when other methods are not effective, the effectiveness of the method is 70-80%. Currently, there are several methods of hormonal therapy.
- Analogues of pituitary hormones;
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists.
- Regular sleep is a necessary condition for maintaining the health of the whole organism, during sleep the body produces melatonin – a hormone, that prevents the emergence and growth of a tumor;
- Healthy diet – eat more fruits and vegetables, cruciferous, legumes, garlic, onions, citrus, leafy green and yellow vegetables;
- Eat low-fat meat, fish and seafood, give preference to vegetable fats and cereals, which are rich in dietary fiber, digestible protein, vitamin E and phytosterols;
- Avoid carcinogenic substances – carcinogens that provoke the development of tumors, can enter the body with food, from contaminated air or water; tobacco smoke, products with aromatic and flavor additives;
- Preventive examination – men over 50 are should check prostate at least every two years. Screening includes ultrasound of the prostate and a blood test for the prostatic antigen;
- Physical activity helps to avoid stagnant phenomena in the prostate, strengthens the walls of the vessels and prevents the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. Morning and evening exercises, jogging or walking can neutralize the harm of sedentary lifestyle;
- Regular sexual life prevents stagnation and inflammation in the prostate gland, increases pelvic circulation and metabolic processes in the prostate tissues.
Prognosis for prostate cancer depends on the stage at which the tumor was detected.
- If the patient got medical help at the first stage of the disease, he can completely restore the function of the bladder, sexual function, remove the tumor and return to work;
- At the second and third stages, the success of treatment largely depends on the professionalism of the doctor and the patient’s health, age and general well-being. The therapy lasts longer, the treatment is more complicated, but the chances of success are quite high – the life expectancy of most patients after treatment is 15 years or more;
- At the fourth stage of prostate cancer, the predictions are unfavorable – rarely patients manage to live more than seven years after prolonged combination therapy.