Look Out For Signs of Prostate Cancer
Found only in males, prostate cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the glands cells of the prostate. With a small walnut-like shape, the prostate gland is responsible for producing the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancers. They predominantly grow at a slow pace and are typically localised at the prostate gland, where they may not be aggressive. Although some prostate cancers spread slowly and may require little to no therapy, others are aggressive and can spread very quickly. When prostate cancer is detected early and is found to be still confined to the prostate gland, it has the best chance for a successful treatment.
Prostate cancer may not present either signs or symptoms in its early stages. In its more advanced stages, the signs and symptoms to look out for include:
- Trouble urinating
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the semen
- Bone pain
- Losing weight without trying
- Erectile dysfunction
When to see a doctor
If you notice persistent signs and symptoms that just won’t go away and are a cause for concern, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor.
There’s no definitive cause that is attributed to prostate cancer. Like any other cancer, it begins when the cells in the body grow out of control and develop changes in its DNA. Think of a cell's DNA as a handbook that instructs on its actions and responsibilities. Any changes in the DNA tells the cells to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells do. These abnormal cells will continue living, whereas other cells will die. When these abnormal cells accumulate they can transform into a tumour that can invade surrounding tissues. Over time, some of these irregular cells can break away and spread (metastasise) to other parts of the body.
Risk factors of prostate cancer
There are various factors that contribute to the increased risk of prostate cancer and they include:
- Older age. As you become older, your chance of prostate cancer rises. After 50, it becomes more prevalent.
- Race. Black people are more likely than those of other races to develop prostate cancer, for reasons unbeknownst to researchers. In addition, it’s also more likely to be aggressive or progressed in Black persons.
- Family history. The risk of developing prostate cancer is elevated when there’s a running family history, prevalent in a parent, sibling or child who has been diagnosed. In addition, your chance of developing prostate cancer may be increased if you carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene or have a strong family history of breast cancer.
- Obesity. Though research has produced conflicting findings, those who are obese may be at an increased risk of prostate cancer compared to those with a healthy weight. There’s a higher likelihood for obese individuals to have more aggressive cancers that are more likely to recur after initial therapy.
Complications to look out for
Just like any disease or sickness, prostate cancer comes with its own complications, and its treatments include:
- Cancer that spreads (metastasises) Prostate cancer can spread through your circulatory or lymphatic system to your bones or other organs, as well as to neighbouring organs like your bladder. When this cancer has spread to the bones, it can cause pain and broken bones. It's doubtful that prostate cancer will be cured if it has spread to other parts of the body, but it may still react to treatment and be kept under control.
- Incontinence Urinary incontinence can be brought on by both prostate cancer and in its treatment too. The sort of incontinence you have, its severity and the likelihood of it improving will all influence how you are treated. Treatment options for this condition is a medley of medication, catheters or surgery.
- Erectile dysfunction Erectile dysfunction is at times the side effect of prostate cancer or its treatment, including surgery, radiation or hormone treatments. Erectile dysfunction can be treated with medications, erection-aid vacuum devices, and surgery.