Just a few days ago, I read something in the news on BBC that got my attention. It clearly stated that prostate cancer has more deaths than breast cancer. Not only this, but prostate cancer has also become more common than breast cancer in the UK and other countries. I started reading about it and found quite a surprising and unexpected reason behind prostate surpassing breast as the most common cancer.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is the cancer of the prostate. Prostate is a gland present in males in the pelvis that is like a small walnut in shape. The prostate has many functions in the male body. The prostate gland produces a specific fluid. This fluid isresponsible for the nourishment and transportation of sperms. Besides that, prostate gland secretes a specific antigen called prostate-specific antigen (PSA) which is actually a protein. The role of this protein is to maintain the fluidity and liquid state of semen. The same protein helps in urine control.
It should be noted that the treatment for prostate cancer is highly effective and successful if the cancer is caught at an early stage. Prostate cancer can travel from the prostate to other areas in the body. It can travel using blood vessels or lymph nodes. This results in the formation of new tumors in places like bones. Prostate cancer is called metastatic prostate cancer in that case.
Early Alarming Signs of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer has many urinary symptoms associated with it. The reason is the presence of prostate gland near the urethra and bladder. These urinary symptoms are expressed in the early stages when it is just the onset of cancer. Apart from this, prostate cancer can keep developing in the man’s body without showing any symptoms for years. You should be on a lookout for any of these symptoms mentioned below.
- Burning sensation during, before or after urination
- Painful ejaculation
- Semen or urine having blood
- Weak flow of urine
- Poor bladder control
- Frequent urination at night
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain when sitting due to the enlarged prostate
Apart from this, other symptoms might include:
- Unexplained pain while sitting in the lower pelvis, hips or back
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
In the later stages of prostate cancer, there might be swelling in the pelvic area. In addition to the swelling, there might be numbness in the lower body.
Cause of Prostate Cancer
The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown at the moment. However, just like other cancers, prostate cancer begins when normal cells of the prostate become abnormal and start dividing and multiplying more rapidly than the normal rate. The accumulation of these abnormal cells is called a tumor. The tumor can break off from its origin, travel to other parts of the body.
There are several risk factors associated with prostate cancer. Some of these are age, ethnicity, genes, lifestyle, drugs, and family history. In fact, men of ages above 50 are diagnosed with prostate cancer more than young males.
Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer
Prostate Cancer is diagnosed by a urologist or an oncologist. A cancer specialist can also diagnose it. They look at:
- Medical history
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Digital rectal exam
- Other physical examination.
Of course, males are uncomfortable with digital rectal exams and an ultrasound. The reason for this is that doctors use their fingers to check the prostate for any abnormalities that might indicate cancer in the former test. In an ultrasound, a probe with a camera is inserted into the rectum. So you can imagine how someone might want to avoid these tests.
If you are worried about any of the symptoms you might have for prostate cancer, you can book an appointment with the best oncologists and urologists in Pakistan through marhampk.
Why has prostate cancer become common? Why are more people being diagnosed with prostate cancer?
Currently, there are 174,650 men estimated to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the US alone this year according to Cancer.net. You will notice how the mortality rate was quite high although the number of patients diagnosed with prostate cancer was relatively low if you look at the statistics of prostate cancer over the last few decades. The reason for this is very simple. Firstly, there are more people aware of prostate cancer due to the influence of media and famous male actors coming forward to talk about their experience with prostate cancer.
As a result of this, a large ratio of men has overcome their hesitation for the sake of their health to be screened for prostate cancer. With more men coming forward, cases of prostate cancer also increased.
Secondly, the reason attributed to the increased rate of men having prostate cancer is the availability of screening for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) which shows up in the blood test in case of prostate cancer even if there are no symptoms.
High levels of PSA indicate a prostate tumor. As a confirmatory test, a further digital rectal exam or biopsy might be done.
In short, due to increased availability of PSA screening test and more awareness among males, they have come forward for screening. As a consequence, prostate cancer was diagnosed more. This, in turn, became the reason behind prostate surpassing breast as the most common cancer.
Image by Obsessive Potato.