Education on the Important Aspects of Prostate Cancer
There are many different medical complications that males face throughout their life. In regard to prostate cancer, this illness is known as one of the most commonly diagnosed male malignancies on a global scale.
Prostate cancer tends to grow slowly with limited aggressiveness, but this can also pose a risk for late-stage recognition.
Most early stages of prostate cancer don’t present any noticeable symptoms.
However, when prostate cancer enters late stages, symptoms like paralysis, bone pain, and renal failure may be present.
The effects of prostate cancer can span from mild to much more severe, and there are many nuances that should be understood.
The Realities of Prostate Cancer
Modern medicine has expanded research on prostate cancer throughout the years, generating many new discoveries that have adjusted how treatment is approached.
When prostate cancer is only found in the prostate itself, there’s a better chance of it being potentially curable. Before diving into treatment solutions, it’s essential to understand the unique causes that can lead to the disease.
From minimal to major risk factors, prostate cancer can stem from numerous causes.
Moreover, some individuals are more prone to prostate cancer than others. Aspects such as age, obesity, family history, and even ethnicity play a part in the prevalence of prostate cancer for some patients.
Here is a list of common list factors associated with prostate cancer:
- Lack of exercise
- Increased height
- Presently elevated testosterone levels
- And more
Although these are considered to be a handful of the most common risk factors, the list of causes for prostate cancer is much more extensive. It’s a tricky disease that can come with many unique characteristics.
Extensive Causes of Prostate Cancer
Aside from various lifestyle choices, genetics can play a core role in the development of cancer in the prostate.
Particular mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, and P53 are known to have a direct correlation to prostate cancer, and genetic background, family history, and ethnicity add to this point.
Men with family members that have experienced early-onset disease, especially brothers, are more prone to encountering prostate cancer and a more advanced nature to the disease.
It’s also well known that various lifestyle and diet choices can lead to the rise of prostate cancer, and risks can vary based on certain key factors.
Some diet and lifestyle choices associated with the development of prostate cancer include:
- A typical Western diet
- High calcium intake
- Milk products
- Low levels of Vitamin D
- Saturated fats
There are also a couple of diet choices that could potentially help ward off prostate cancer. These include a Mediterranean diet and the consumption of soy products. Sexual activity can also bare weight on the existence of prostate cancer.
Infections like gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and HPV can also be linked to prostate cancer.
Researchers have also found that some medications can help decrease the risk of prostate cancer. NSAIDs, metformin, and aspirin are known to work against the risk of prostate cancer, but this shouldn’t be looked at as a 100% effective defense.
Any cancer can be pretty scary for a number of reasons, but the medical field has made strides in handling prostate cancer.
Research displays that a small percentage of patients with prostate cancer actually die from the disease. However, there are many nuances about how prostate cancer affects each patient.
Modern Knowledge of Prostate Cancer
It’s known that prostate cancer is much more common in developed parts of the world. Although this is true, the five-year survival rate of prostate cancer in the U.S. is 99%. Moreover, the prevalence of prostate cancer has risen over the years, but the death rate continues to decrease.
This shows improvements in treatment solutions and a more expansive knowledge of what can be expected from the disease.
There are some interesting statistics surrounding how different ethnic groups are affected by prostate cancer.
Although it can potentially happen to any male, some ethnicities are more susceptible to the incidence of the disease. You can find more information on mortality rates with different populations below.
The number provided in this list is based on the equation deaths/100,000 people.
This data comes from work done by the National Cancer Institute and databases from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results.
- Asians: 8.8
- Hispanics: 16.5
- Caucasians: 18.7
- American Indians: 19.4
- General Population: 20.1
- Blacks: 42.0
It’s evident that some populations are more affected by prostate cancer, but a lot of this comes down to genetics, location, and lifestyle choices. Regardless of these factors, many men will face the development of prostate cancer by age 80.
The disease is known to be slow growing and can develop without being discovered for long periods of time.
Medical professionals’ knowledge of prostate cancer is vast nowadays, and much of this information is used to deliver accurate evaluations. A proper evaluation of a man suffering from prostate cancer is vital for providing effective treatment plans.
Proper treatment is essential in beating the development of the disease before it becomes an irreversible health concern.
The Many Ways to Evaluate Prostate Cancer
Screenings are the first step toward investigating the existence of prostate cancer in males. This is vital for successful early detection, as the earlier it’s discovered, the more solutions there are available to help treat the disease.
Those who are considered to be at average risk for prostate cancer should have their first screenings done around the age of 55.
This isn’t the same for high-risk individuals. Screenings for high-risk males should be done at a younger age, and most doctors would recommend it’s safe to stop screening by 70 or so.
It’s important to mention that screenings simply suggest the possibility of the cancer. Depending on the results of the screening, this could lead to additional tests to discern the current state of the disease within the body.
Some common procedures to detect the incidence of prostate cancer include:
- Digital rectal exams
- Transrectal ultrasound
- Prostate-specific antigen blood tests
- Diagnostic procedures
One or more of these medical tests can be used to determine the existence of prostate cancer, and these findings will also lead to the Gleason score of the cancer. This score determined is utilized to rate the abnormality of cancer cells.
If a patient has a Gleason score on the high end, this could be a sign that there are more abnormal cells and potentially aggressive cancer.
After successful evaluation, doctors will start to put together a treatment plan that’s catered to the patient’s specific needs.
What’s Required for Treatment?
There are several crucial aspects that come into play when looking to successfully treat and manage prostate cancer. General health, how far the cancer has spread, and its growth rate are significant factors to consider.
You’ll also find that a variety of healthcare professionals offer vital expertise in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Many of these professionals consist of urologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists, to name a few.
If a patient’s prostate cancer is discovered in the early stages, they have a much more positive road ahead of them. The path to healing could be much more complicated for those who discover it in later stages.
One of the first courses of action a doctor will take after discovering prostate cancer is to offer close surveillance of the patient’s health condition.
The Importance of Surveillance
There are two primary considerations regarding surveillance, as doctors practice either active or watchful surveillance. With active surveillance, this generally consists of screenings, biopsies, and scans every one to three years.
This is the best option for slow-growing cancers, and it gives doctors and patients to stay on top of the disease’s development.
In regard to watchful surveillance, doctors practice this for individuals who aren’t as healthy or may never beat the cancer.
Testing tends to be much less frequent, and treatment primarily focuses on managing symptoms rather than eliminating the cancer.
If a doctor determines surgery to be one of the methods of managing prostate cancer, it’s usually to remove a diseased prostate gland.
This surgery is called radical prostatectomy and is known to be effective with cases of prostate cancer that haven’t started to spread.
There are two primary removal methods for this surgery, which include robotic radical prostatectomy and open radical prostatectomy. Each offers specific benefits that may be better for the patient regarding their health and the current state of their cancer.
When surgery isn’t needed or should be avoided, some patients may have to go through radiation therapy.
How Radiation Therapy Works
This can be utilized with a combination of other treatments or as a standalone option. Doctors generally use two different forms of radiation therapy for prostate cancer: brachytherapy and external beam radiation therapy.
Outside of radiation, doctors may also look into other therapies like systemic therapies and even focal therapy. There are many ups and downs to different cancer treatments, but some are vital to the patient’s survival.
Prostate cancer may come with a high survival rate, but the disease shouldn’t be taken lightly. Modern medicine is more than prepared to handle the disease, but early detection is essential for the best possible outcome for the patient’s health.
Nevertheless, if a man encounters the disease, a wide variety of treatment solutions are available to them.