Prostate Cancer Treatment – Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Risks
Prostate cancer affects the prostate gland, which is the gland that plays a role in urine control as well as produces some of the fluid which is a part of the semen. It is located in front of the rectum, just below the bladder.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men but is also the most treatable, if discovered in the early stages of the disease. It is estimated that over Worldwide, more than 1 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. The prostate cancer rates in India are increasing each year, with one estimate suggesting that 6.78 per cent males in India suffer from Prostate cancer.
The causes of prostate cancer are not very clear. However, according to some studies, it is known that some cells in the prostate start mutating abnormally. These abnormal cell growths cause the cells to divide and grow more rapidly than noncancerous cells. These cells also have a longer lifetime than most normal cell and thus, continue living even after the other normal cells die. The accumulation of these abnormal cells spreads to the nearby healthy tissues causing a cancerous growth. Some of these abnormal cells can also metastasize and spread to other parts of the body, thereby spreading cancer to the other parts of the body.
Following are some factors that might increase your chances of prostate cancer:
• Race: Black men have a significantly higher risk of developing prostate cancer than their counterparts.
• Age: Your chances of developing prostate cancer increase with your age.
• Obesity: Obese men who are diagnosed with an instance of prostate cancer are more likely to develop advanced stages of prostate cancer that is significantly more difficult to treat.
• Family History: In case, men in your family have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your chances of developing the condition also increases manifold. A family history of breast cancer also indicates an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
• Medication: Studies suggest that non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can increase your risk of developing prostate cancer, although this is a very controversial point that has supporters on both sides.
At Apollo Spectra, Prostate cancer screening tests generally include either one or both of the following tests:
• Digital Rectal Exam: In order to conduct a digital rectal exam, your doctor will insert a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum in order to examine the prostate, which is situated right next to the rectum. If the doctor identifies any change in the shape, size or texture of the gland here, then further investigations are usually required.
• Prostate-specific antigen: In order to conduct the Prostate Specific Antigen test, a blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. This blood sample is then tested for the presence of PSA, which is a naturally produced substance by your prostate gland. Usually, tiny amounts of PSA are present in your bloodstream and this is generally considered normal. However, the presence of elevated levels of PSA in your blood are symptoms indicating the presence of problems with your prostate, including prostate enlargement, infection, inflammation and prostate cancer.
Usually, no symptoms are observed during the early stages of prostate cancer. However, in case symptoms occur, they usually include one or more of the following:
• Blood in the urine
• Painful urination
• Frequent urges to urinate
• Difficulty in initiating and maintaining urination
• Painful ejaculation
• Erectile Dysfunction
Advanced stages of prostate cancer generally include the following symptoms:
• Bone fractures
• Pain in the bones, particularly in the spine, femur, ribs or pelvis
In case the prostate cancer spreads to the spine, the following symptoms may be observed:
• Urinary incontinence
• Fecal incontinence
• Leg weakness
Treatment undertaken for early and advanced stages of prostate cancer is radically different.
1. Early stage prostate cancer treatment: Usually, in the early stages, the cancer is localised and the cancerous mass is small. The following steps are undertaken in order to treat this:
- Brachytherapy: This treatment involves the implantation of radioactive seeds in the prostate in order to deliver targeted radiation treatment
- Watchful waiting and monitoring: No immediate action is taken but the PSA blood levels are regularly monitored. Since this is a slowly developing form of cancer, the risk of side effects generally outweighs the need for immediate treatment in the early stages of prostate cancer.
- Conformal Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy involves the shaping of radiation beams in such a way as to minimise the exposure of healthy tissue to the radiation. In this technique, radiation beams are shaped so that they are as close to the organ and the region that requires the treatment as possible.
- Radical prostatectomy: Radical prostatectomy involves the surgical removal of the prostate. This type of surgery usually involves a hospital stay of 10 days with recovery period of about 3 months. New techniques, using robotic automation of the surgery, have considerably decreased the time required for hospitalization as well as the time taken for the recovery.
- Intensity-modulated Radiation therapy: Intensity-modulated Radiation therapy involves making use of beans with variable intensity. This procedure is basically a more advanced form of conformal radiation therapy.
2. Advanced stage prostate cancer treatment: Advanced cancer is a more aggressive form of cancer as it usually spread to other parts of the body. The following forms of treatment may be undertaken:
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy may be recommended as it kills cancer cells throughout the body.
- Androgen deprivation therapy: Androgen deprivation therapy, also known as androgen suppression therapy is the treatment that reduces the effect of androgen on the body, which are the male hormones that stimulate cancer growth in the body. It even stop cancer growth by reducing the androgen levels in the body.
3. Long term hormone therapy is also most likely to be needed.
At Apollo Spectra, we offer all our patrons a variety of treatments for the different stages of prostate cancer and ensure that you receive the best treatment and care that we provide.
Post surgery, a catheter is inserted into the bladder and put in place anywhere from 1 to 2 days to a fortnight. This might be slightly inconvenient for some men. Most men return to normal, routine activities within a week or two of prostate cancer treatment.
At Apollo Spectra, physicians practice their expertise in specialties that involve caring for patients of prostate cancer. Pathologists, oncologists and radiologists – all come together to discuss and devise a treatment plan for the patients. This team work approach is beneficial for all our patients. Diagnosis and treatments at Apollo Spectra are done very precisely to deliver error-free results. From among a variety of treatments, the team at Apollo Spectra will advise you to go for the treatment that suits your needs.
With continuous research and advancements happening, the quality of treatments offered at Apollo Spectra is incomparable, so you do not have to worry about your loved ones.
How can I reduce my risk of developing prostate cancer?
Choosing to lead a healthy lifestyle that is rich in fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly as well as by maintaining a healthy weight, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer.
What are the chances of surviving prostate cancer?
The 5-year survival rate of men with regional prostate cancer is nearly 100%. 98% of men affected by prostate cancer are still alive after 10 years, whereas nearly 96% live for at least 15 years. In case cancer spreads to other parts of the body, the survival rate is estimated at 29%.