22nd Apr 2021
VF Blog: What You Need to Know About Prostate Cancer
What is Prostate Cancer?
The most common type of cancer, prostate cancer, occurs in the prostate gland in males. The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland responsible for producing the fluid that transports sperms.
Image: Wikipedia commons
How does Prostate Cancer Occur?
The prostate is an organ located right under the bladder, and it wraps around the urethra. The area adjacent to the urethra is called the central zone, then there's a layer of the transitional zone, and then comes the peripheral zone. Prostate cancer most commonly develops in the peripheral zone. This part can also be felt while doing a digital rectal exam.
Typically, the cancer starts formulating when cells in the prostate begin developing changes in their DNA. As a result of this change, cells begin to grow and break apart more speedily than normal cells, thus aggravating abnormal cell growth.
These abnormal cells accumulate, forming a tumor that is likely to invade nearby tissue. Meanwhile, some abnormal cells might dismantle and spread throughout the body through blood or body fluids.
Androgens are male hormones, and high levels of male hormones like testosterones can act on the prostate and cause its cell to grow abnormally and become cancerous.
Image: Wikipedia commons
Signs and symptoms of Prostate Cancer:
If cancer cells are still inside the prostate gland only, getting treatment is favorable.
Prostate cancer patients do not experience significant symptoms in the early stages of the disease the symptoms are common to benign enlargement of the gland. As prostate cancer progresses, these are the common signs and symptoms that come forward:
• Facing difficulties with urination
• Feeling reduced pressure in the stream of urine
• Detection of blood traces in urine
• Detection of blood traces in semen
• Feeling pain in the bones and back
• Experiencing unexplained weight loss
• Facing erectile dysfunction
Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer:
As you grow older, especially men 50 years old or above, your risk of prostate cancer increases.
African Americans are more likely to develop prostate cancer as compared to people of other races. The reason for this is not yet known. However, Black people are also more at risk of developing aggressive or advanced prostate cancer.
You are at a greater risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer if you have a family history of it, specifically if one of your blood relatives had it, including parents, siblings, children, etc. Moreover, if breast cancer runs in your family, your risk of prostate cancer is likely to be higher.
People who are struggling with obesity or losing weight are at a greater risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer than people who keep their weight under control. Moreover, if you are overweight, prostate cancer is more likely to be aggressive or advanced in nature, with higher relapse chances.
What could we do to prevent prostate cancer?
Here are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of prostate cancer:
Switch to a healthy diet
It is recommended that you incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your regular diet. These foods are rich in vitamins and nutrients, which are beneficial for improving your overall health. It is also advised that you replace supplements with healthy foods. It is recommended for prostate cancer patients to avoid red meat, processed meats, and foods high in fat and consume more plant-based foods instead.
Exercising regularly plays a very pivotal role in keeping your health in check and your weight under control. Moreover, it lifts your spirits and improves your mood and mental health. Try to adapt to a healthier lifestyle by making exercise or workouts a part of your daily routine.
Say no to tobacco
Smoking is highly harmful to your overall health and increases the risks of prostate or other types of cancers and heart diseases. Cut down or try to quit smoking altogether to bring a drastic positive change to your lifestyle.
Keep a check on your PSA levels
PSA is a protein that is produced by the prostate gland. Its levels normally increase with age, but if they are more than the normal limit for that age, then it is an indication of prostate cancer.
Men aged 60-70 should have their PSA level checked annually. If their PSA level is 3 ng / mL or higher, they should discuss with their doctors about going for a biopsy of the prostate. For men with PSA levels between 1 and 3 ng / mL, a PSA test should be done every two or four years based on what the doctor recommends. Incremental increase of PSA in serial values done periodically is more significant than the single value of PSA. Please note PSA is prostate gland specific and not cancer specific.
Keep your weight under control
Being overweight or obese puts you at significant risk for prostate cancer and other serious diseases. Maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep your weight in check. You can also ask for expert help and get a meal plan from a nutritionist.
If you experience any of the signs or symptoms of prostate cancer that we discussed today or feel like you are at risk, consult your doctor immediately. It is better if you can control and begin treatment for prostate cancer in the early stages. Prevention of prostate cancer or any other cancer can only happen if you make drastic changes in your lifestyle and take your health seriously.
Here is another post in this series: https://vfrsi.vattikutifoundation.com/rp-side-effects
Disclaimer: Book an appointment with your physician or healthcare expert and discuss these options. They will guide you further on which one would work best for you. This article is for informational purposes only.