Prostate Cancer: Overview, Types, Stages, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and More

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer happens in the prostate, a small walnut-shaped gland in men that makes the fluid which helps carry and nourish sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers. Many types grow slowly and stay inside the prostate, not causing much harm. Some need little or no treatment. However, other types are fast growing and can spread quickly. Prostate cancer found early, while it’s still the prostate, has the best chance of being treated successfully. For more research you can also visit Medical News Today.

What is Prostate Cancer?

It is the most common cancer diagnosed in men around the world. In the United States, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 268,490 men will be newly diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2022. The prostate is a small gland in a man’s lower abdomen, located under the bladder and around the urethra. The hormone testosterone controls the prostate. The prostate also makes seminal fluid, called semen, which carries sperm out of the body during ejaculation. When abnormal, harmful cells grow in the prostate, forming a tumor, it is called it. This cancer can spread to other parts of the body. Even if it spreads, it is still called prostate cancer because it started in the prostate.

What are the Types of Prostate Cancer?

Almost all prostate cancers are a type called adenocarcinoma, which grows in gland tissue like the prostate. However, other rare types of cancer also start in the prostate, including:

  • Small cell carcinoma, like lung cancer
  • Neuroendocrine tumors, like pancreatic cancer
  • Transitional cell carcinomas, like kidney cancer
  • Sarcomas, like bone cancer

It is also classified by how fast it grows. There are two types:

  • Aggressive, or fast-growing
  • Nonaggressive, or slow-growing

With nonaggressive prostate cancer, the tumor grows slowly. With aggressive cancer, the tumor can grow quickly and spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, and metastatic cancer.

What are the Stages of Prostate Cancer?

Staging describes how much cancer is in the body and how serious it is. Knowing the stage of prostate cancer helps a person understand what to expect and informs treatment decisions. Doctors often describe cancer as either non-metastatic or metastatic. Non-metastatic cancer is only in its original area; which doctors may call localized. Metastatic cancer has spread to other parts of the body from the original site. Cancer staging is complex and considers many factors. Generally, the lower the stage number, the less the cancer has spread. Stages include:

  • Stage I: Cancer is only in the prostate gland.
  • Stage II: Cancer is still in the prostate but with a higher PSA level.
  • Stage III: Cancer may have spread to nearby tissues.
  • Stage IV: Cancer may have spread to distant parts of the body.

What are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

In the early stages of it, there are usually no symptoms, but screening can find changes that might indicate cancer. Screening involves a test that measures PSA levels in the blood. High PSA levels suggest that cancer might be present. Men who do have symptoms may notice:

  • Difficulty starting and maintaining urination
  • Frequent urge to urinate, especially at night
  • Weak urine stream
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Painful urination or ejaculation
  • Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis

Advanced Symptoms:

People with advanced prostate cancer might also have no symptoms. Signs will depend on the size of the cancer and where it has spread in the body. In addition to the symptoms mentioned earlier, advanced prostate cancer can cause:

Sexual Problems:

Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, can be a symptom of prostate cancer. This condition makes it difficult to get and keep a reaction. Another symptom of prostate cancer can be blood in the semen after ejaculation.

Pain and Numbness:

If prostate cancer has spread and is putting pressure on your spinal cord, you may experience weakness or numbness in your legs and feet. You might also lose control of your bladder and bowel.  

What are the Causes of Prostate Cancer?

Researchers are unsure of the exact cause of prostate cancer. It starts when certain changes happen, usually in gland cells. When prostate gland cells look abnormal, doctors may call these changes prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). Nearly 50% of men over 50 have PIN. At first, these changes are slow, and the cells are not cancerous. However, they can become cancerous over time. Cancer cells can be either high grade or low grade. High grade cells are more likely to grow and spread, while low grade cells are less likely to grow and are usually not a cause for concern.

What are the Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer?

Risk factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include:

  • Older Age: The risk of prostate cancer increases as you get older, especially after age 50.
  • Race: Black people have a higher risk of prostate cancer than people of other races, and the cancer is often more aggressive or advanced in Black people.
  • Family History: If a blood relative, like a parent, sibling, or child, has had prostate cancer, your risk is higher. Also, a family history of breast cancer genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2) or a strong family history or breast cancer can increase your risk.
  • Obesity: Obese people may have a higher risk of prostate cancer, though studies are mixed. In obese people, the cancer is often more aggressive and more likely to return after treatment.

What is the Screening of Prostate Cancer?

Testing healthy men with no symptoms for prostate cancer is controversial. Medical organizations disagree on whether the benefits of testing outweigh the potential risks. Most medical organizations suggest that men in their 50s talk with their doctors about the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening. This discussion should include your risk factors and your preferences regarding screening. You might consider having this discussion earlier if you are Black, have a family history of prostate cancer, or have other risk factors. Prostate cancer screening tests might include:

  • Digital rectal exam (DRE)
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test

What is the Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer?

If a person has a symptom that may indicate prostate cancer, a doctor will likely:

  • Ask about symptoms
  • Ask about personal and medical history
  • Conduct a blood test to check PSA levels
  • Perform imaging tests
  • Carry out a urine test to look for other biomarkers
  • Perform a physical examination, which may include a digital rectal exam (DRE)
  • During a DRE, the doctor will use their figure to manually check for any abnormalities in the prostate.

If a doctor suspect cancer, they may recommend further tests such as:

  • Transrectal ultrasound
  • Biopsy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Collecting a sample of prostate tissue            

What is the Treatment of Prostate Cancer?

Your doctor will create a suitable treatment plan for your cancer based on your age, health condition, and the stage of your cancer.

  • Aggressive
  • Doctors may treat more aggressive types of cancer with options such as
  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Cryotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

Immunotherapy

If your cancer is very aggressive and has spread to your bones, these treatments may be used along with other treatments specifically for bone metastases.   

Other Treatments:

  • External radiation therapy
  • Internal radiation therapy
  • Targeted therapy

What are the Complications of Prostate Cancer?

The complications of it include:

  • Cancer that spreads (metastasizes)
  • Incontinence
  • Erectile dysfunction

What is the Prevention of Prostate Cancer?

You can reduce your risk of prostate cancer if you:

  • Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Choose healthy foods over supplements
  • Exercise most days of the week
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Choose a vitamins and minerals in your diet
  • Talk to your doctor about increased risk of prostate cancer

Will Prostate Cancer Affect Your Sex Life?

About 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, making it the most common cancer in men. Prostate cancer affects the walnut-shaped gland that wraps around a man’s urethra. Treatments like surgery, radiation, and hormone therapy remove or destroy the cancer, but they can have sexual side effects. These can include trouble getting an erection, having an orgasm, and fathering children.

How Will Treatment Affect My Libido?

Prostate cancer can reduce your sex drive. Knowing you have cancer and undergoing treatment can make you feel too anxious to have sex. Hormone therapy, a treatment for prostate cancer, can also lower your libido. This therapy slows cancer growth by lowering testosterone levels, which are needed for a healthy sex drive. Hormone therapy can also impact your self-esteem and sex drive by causing weight gain or enlarging your breast tissue. If your hormone levels are low, your doctor might prescribe testosterone replacement therapy to bring them back to normal, depending on your overall cancer treatment plan.   

How will Treatment Affect my Sex Organs?

Some men notice that their penis is slightly smaller after prostate cancer treatment. In a 2013 study, about 3% of participants reported a reduced penis size after radical prostatectomy or radiation plus hormone therapy. The men said their smaller penis affected their relationships and life satisfaction. For men who experience this, the change in size is usually half an inch or less. This decrease may be due to tissues shrinking in the penis because of nerve and blood vessel damage. If you’re concerned about this side effect, ask your doctor about taking a drug for erectile dysfunction (ED), such as Cialis or Viagra. The increased blood flow from these drugs may help prevent your penis from getting smaller and also help with getting and maintaining an erection.

Will Treatment Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

When you’re sexually excited, nerves cause tissues in your penis to relax, allowing blood to flow into it. The nerves that control erection are very delicate. Surgery or radiation for prostate cancer can damage them, causing erectile dysfunction (ED), where you can’t get or keep an erection. A radical prostatectomy is a surgery to remove the prostate gland. During this procedure, the surgeon may damage the nerves and blood vessels around the prostate. If these are damaged enough, you won’t be able to get an erection after the surgery. Today, doctors can perform nerve-sparing surgery to help prevent permanent ED. However, the nerve and blood vessels can still be affected, causing temporary ED. Many men have trouble getting an erection for weeks, months, or even years after the procedure. Radiation therapy can also damage the blood vessels and nerves that control erection. Up to half of men who undergo radiation for prostate cancer experience ED afterward. For some, this symptom improves over time. Sometimes, radiation side effects don’t appear until a few months after treatment, and if ED starts late, it may not go away. Several treatments can help with ED until you can have erection on your own again:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra)
  • MUSE
  • Vacuum pump
  • Penile injections
  • Penile implants

How will Treatment Affect My Ability to Organs or My Fertility?

Surgery for prostate cancer can affect both your orgasms and your ability to have children. The prostate gland normally adds fluid called semen to nourish and protect it. After surgery, you won’t make semen anymore, so your orgasms will be dry. Radiation therapy can also reduce the amount of fluid you ejaculate. Without semen, you won’t be able to father children. If you’re concerned about fertility, you can bank your sperm before surgery. After surgery, orgasms will also feel different. You won’t experience the usual buildup of sensation before orgasm, but you will still be able to feel pleasure.

Some Tips for Talking with Your Partner:

Feeling less desire for sex or having trouble getting an erection can impact your relationship. Here are some tips to help navigate this:

  • Bring your partner with you to doctor’s visits. Involving them in discussion can help them understand what you’re going through.
  • Listen to your partner’s concerns and perspectives. Remember, this affects both of you.
  • Consider seeing a therapist or sex therapist to address any issues affecting your sex life.
  • If sex is currently challenging, explore other ways to be intimate and connect. Cuddling, kissing, and touching can also be enjoyable and fulfilling.  

What You Can Do Now?

Sexual side effects from prostate cancer treatment are often temporary, especially if your doctor used nerve-sparing surgery. While your body recovers, you can try a few things to maintain your sex life:

  • Let your doctor know about any sexual problems you’re having right away. Although it can be hard to talk about sex, being open and honest will help you get the treatment you need.
  • See a therapist. Couples therapy can help you and your partner understand and deal with sexual issues.
  • Take care of yourself by exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep. Looking and feeling your best will boost your self-esteem and mood.

FAQs:

Can prostate cancer be 100% cured?

Yes, it is caught early. In some cases, the cancer grows so slowly that you may not need treatment right away. Treatment can often eliminate prostate cancers that haven’t spread beyond the prostate gland.

How to clean the prostate?

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is linked to several prostate health issues, including prostate cancer
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Reduce consumption of red meat   
  • Know your risk and get tested
  • Exercise
  • Drinking water daily
  • Manage psychological stress
  • Stop smoking

Is rice good for the prostate?

Whole grains and legumes: A diet high in fiber supports overall health, including prostate health. Whole grains like oats, brown rice, and quinoa, as well as legumes like lentils and beans are excellent sources of dietary fiber.

Is honey good for the prostate?

Honey also improved prostate function after 4 weeks, as shown by increased PSA and PAP serum levels and relative prostate weight.

What can I drink to clean my prostate?

Natural remedies like soy, green tea, pygeum, grass pollen, and saw palmetto may help shrink the prostate in some people. Other strategies, such as behavioral changes, may also help shrink the prostate naturally.

Is yogurt good for the prostate?

Studies show that men who consumed the most dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt each day had the highest risk of prostate cancer. However, study results have been mixed and the risk associated with dairy products is considered to be small.

Which herbs are best for the prostate?

Herbal supplements that may help relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) include beta-sitosterol, cernilton, Pygeum africanum, and saw palmetto.  

Other Post: 

Fish Oil: Overview, Nutrition Profile, Health Benefits, Food Sources, Risks, Side Effects, and More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *