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Prostate Cancer – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and is also one of the most deadly. Luckily, there are a variety of treatments available to help you manage your disease. This article outlines the causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Causes

Prostate cancer is a disease that occurs in the prostate gland. It usually affects men over the age of 50. Often, the disease is discovered in its early stages, before it spreads to other parts of the body.

Doctors and researchers are still studying the causes of prostate cancer. A number of factors may contribute to the development of the disease.

Genetics play a significant role in the development of the disease. Some people have inherited faulty genes that can increase the risk of developing the disease. Others develop the disease because of exposure to certain toxins.

Other factors include age and race. African-American men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than other races. Men with a family history of the disease are also at higher risk.

Prostate cancer is caused by changes in a person’s DNA. This change can lead to abnormal cell division and uncontrollable growth. Using hormone therapies to slow the growth of prostate cancer may reduce the chances of it spreading.

Dietary factors also play a role. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of the disease. In addition, reducing the intake of high-fat foods such as red meat may help lower the risk.

Other risk factors include smoking, drinking alcohol, and having a family history of the disease. If you have these risks, you should consult your doctor about what you can do to decrease your risk.

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Many types of chemotherapy, including hormonal therapies, can help slow the growth of the cancer. Radiation therapy is also used to kill the tumor.

Surgery may be required for some cases. Radical prostatectomy is often performed to remove the prostate gland. Sometimes, a pelvic lymph node will need to be removed as well.

A physical exam will help doctors determine the symptoms of prostate cancer. They may also recommend changes to your diet or exercise. However, these measures may not prevent the disease.

While some risk factors can be modified, other factors cannot. The only way to know for sure whether you’re at a higher risk for prostate cancer is to discuss your medical history with a doctor.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of prostate cancer can be made with a variety of diagnostic tests. Some of these include digital rectal examination, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, and biopsy.

A diagnosis of prostate cancer can be a life-changing event. Patients may feel frightened, confused, and anxious. They should learn more about their options and talk with others.

Early detection of prostate cancer allows for a more conservative treatment plan. However, prostate cancer can spread to other parts of the body. This makes the treatment outcome less certain. The patient’s overall health and fitness should be considered when choosing a treatment option.

There are new diagnostic tests that can pinpoint the location of the cancerous cells in the prostate. These tests can also help determine the disease’s stage and prognosis.

A PSA test is the most common method of diagnosing prostate cancer. It measures the levels of the proteins produced by the cancerous prostate cells. If the level of PSA is elevated, a prostate biopsy is performed. Biopsies are painful and uncomfortable, but they do provide important information about the disease.

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In addition, prostate MRI, PET/CT, and bone scans can be used to determine if the cancer has spread. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses magnets and radio waves to generate detailed images of the internal structures of the body.

Another form of prostate cancer diagnosis is TRUS, or transrectal ultrasound. A special probe is inserted into the rectum. High-energy sound waves travel through the probe, bouncing off the prostate. This creates a picture or sonogram.

The most important aspect of this procedure is that the biopsy is performed by a doctor. The tissue samples are then viewed under a microscope. The biopsy results are usually available within ten days. Occasionally, a repeat biopsy is needed to ensure that no cancerous cells are present.

Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer. Many cases are curable when diagnosed early. Unfortunately, it can affect a person’s quality of life for decades.

The prognosis of a person with prostate cancer is based on his age, type of prostate cancer, the rate of tumor growth, and his physical and medical history. Treatment options are determined by the physician.

Treatment options

Treatment options for prostate cancer depend on the stage and type of the disease. Surgery remains the most effective method of treatment. Often, surgery is followed by radiation or chemotherapy to shrink the tumor.

Several immunotherapy strategies exist to target the immune system and fight the disease. These strategies include using targeted drug treatments, which are aimed at specific abnormalities present in cancer cells. The immunotherapeutic approach may work only for people with certain genetic mutations.

For patients with advanced or metastatic prostate cancer, brachytherapy (small radioactive pellets implanted in the prostate) may be considered. Alternatively, chemotherapy and high-intensity focused ultrasound treatment may be used to destroy cancerous tissue.

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In addition to these conventional therapies, combination treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, have shown some promise. Currently, randomized clinical trials are lacking for longer follow-up.

Other options for the low-risk patient include active surveillance, which involves frequent blood tests and regular prostate biopsies. Usually, this strategy will catch the disease in its earliest stages, which means that it can be treated before it becomes life-threatening.

Radiation therapy is another treatment option for men with prostate cancer. Several types of radiation are available, including external beam radiation and intraoperative radiation. External beam radiation uses a machine that moves around the body and delivers high-powered energy beams to the prostate.

Besides these standard forms of treatment, doctors often recommend targeted drug treatments to people with recurrent prostate cancer. This type of therapy aims to destroy rapidly growing prostate cancer cells, thus slowing down the disease.

Another promising treatment option for men with advanced or metastatic prostate cancer is the use of sipuleucel-t, which is a immunotherapy vaccine that genetically engineers immune cells to attack the cancer. It is administered through a vein in the arm.

Treatments for prostate cancer may also include chemotherapy and hormone therapy. These drugs prevent testosterone production, which is needed for the growth of prostate cancer. Sometimes, they are used before surgery or radiation therapy.

Other options for the low-risk prostate cancer patient include active surveillance, which involves regularly checking PSA levels and making sure the disease doesn’t progress.