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Prostate Cancer | Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Types And Prevention Tips

Prostate Cancer

In this article, we'll be seeing some very important facts about prostate cancer, including; its causes, symptoms, types and prevention tips. Remember John Kerry who served from 2013 to 2017 as the 68th U.S. Secretary of State? This American politician who worked under President Barack Obama was in 2003 diagnosed with prostate cancer. Kerry has continued his work in Washington to raise awareness, education and funding for prostate cancer after making a full recovery. How would he describe the symptoms which eventually resulted in a PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) Test if he had no knowledge about prostate cancer prior to his diagnosis? What are the things you should know about prostate cancer?

Cancer is the abnormal development of body cells. This can affect any part of the body and has the ability to spread to other areas.

Statistics have shown that cancer is the second-most deadly disease but thanks to the outstanding improvement in screening and treatment increase in survival rate have been achieved.

The prostate gland is one of the organs of the male reproductive system. It is situated below the bladder (an organ that stores Urine) in the pelvic cavity(around the groin area). It secretes an alkaline fluid which is one of the major constituents of semen.

Prostatic carcinoma known as prostate cancer is therefore the abnormal growth of the prostate gland cells in the body. Is it contagious? No. The following are things you need to know about prostate cancer.

1. What are the causes of prostate cancer?

The precise cause of prostate cancer, like all other forms of cancer, is not easy to ascertain. However, possible causes of cancer like; 

Genetics, exposure to environmental contaminants, such as certain chemicals or radiation, are few of the several factors attributed to it.

2. How would you tell if you have cancer of the prostate?

Depending on what area of the body affected, signs and symptoms of cancer differ.

At the initial stage, prostate cancer hardly shows any sign. Advanced stage, however, causes the following symptoms

  - Urination difficulty.

This is when you feel a painful sensation while urinating. Causes range from urinary tract infection to prostate cancer.

  - Erectile dysfunction.

The inability to achieve an erection for sexual intercourse is known as erectile dysfunction. This can occur due to prostate cancer or through its treatment. Although there are medications in the form of drugs and surgery known to cure erectile dysfunction.

  - Weight loss.

Those affected by prostate cancer experience an untraceable loss of weight and body mass. Eating nutrient-rich meals is advised and most importantly, seek medical attention if you're experiencing this.

  - Haematuria.

This is the appearance of blood in the urine. This can be alarming. Though it is harmless in some cases, it is one of the known symptoms of prostate cancer.

  - Hematospermia

Blood in semen is called Hematospermia. In most cases, blood in semen is benign i.e has no specific cause. Notable causes however may include infection, inflammation, tumor etc. Treatment therefore depends on the specified cause.

  - Reduction in Urine flow force.

The prostatic urethra, the first segment of the urethra ( the pipe that conveys urine from the bladder through the male genital organ) passes through the prostate. The growth of abnormal cells in the prostate increases its size which in turn reduces the diameter of the urethra. This leads to a decrease in force of urine flow while urinating.

3. How many types of prostate cancer do we have?

This information assists the doctors in knowing the type of treatment required. It tells what type of cell started the cancer.

Types include:

• Acinar adenocarcinoma.
• Ductal adenocarcinoma.
• Transitional cell (or urothelial) cancer.
• Squamous cell cancer.
• Small cell prostate cancer.

4. Who is most at risk for developing cancer of the prostate?

Anything which increases your chances of getting cancer is a risk factor.

  - Age.

The risk of prostate cancer is proportional to age. According to experts, People especially after the age of 50, have a higher risk of prostate cancer.

  - Race.

With respect to research, black people are at a greater risk of prostate cancer than people of other races despite the fact that this is yet to be proven scientifically.

  - Diet.

You are probably wondering what connection diet has to prostate cancer? It does. What we take play a significant role in our health. Processed meats and red meat ( pork, beef) and meals with high fat are tied aggressively to prostate cancer. However, studies have shown that plant-based meals e.g fruits vegetables, etc have counter effects. The meals when taken reduce the development of prostate cancer cells in men who are affected.

  - Family background.

If you have a family member once diagnosed with prostate cancer, you have a chance of being affected. Those with blood relatives e.g parents, siblings diagnosed with prostate cancer or family history of genes that accelerate breast cancer are at higher risk of prostate cancer.

  - Obesity.

People who are obese have greater risk of prostate cancer. Studies have also shown that they have the tendency to be re-affected after the initial treatment. It's high time you checked your weight!

 Nevertheless, it should be noted that having a risk factor, or even many, doesn't mean you're going to get the disease.

5. Can we prevent prostate cancer?

Having discussed the causes, symptoms and risk factors, it's worth mentioning the preventive measures. 

  - Healthy diet.

Since fruits and vegetables are proven to have positive effects on prostate cancer, including these in your meal is a step ahead of the disease.

  - Exercise.

Try to add exercise to your daily or weekly activities. This helps to maintain your overall health and also keeps obesity, a risk factor in check.

  - Maintain a healthy weight.

Try to explore other methods apart from exercises that are known to maintain and achieve a healthy weight.

6. What are the options for treatment?

Treatment varies with stages. This list includes different methods depending on the stage used by doctors in treating those diagnosed:
• Chemotherapy
• Hormone therapy
• Diet
• Radiation
• Surgery

Takeaway

Taking everything into consideration, it is highly advisable and preferable to visit a Doctor IMMEDIATELY if you notice any symptom relating to prostate cancer or not. The main purpose of this post is to educate. Avoid self-medication and seek medical help immediately.

This is a guest post from Aladejana Abdul-Majid, a student in the College of Health Sciences in the University. You can reach him via email with [email protected]

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