When cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control, prostate cancer develops. Only men have the prostate gland in their bodies. It produces a small amount of the liquid that makes up the semen.
The prostate is below the bladder, the hollow organ where urine is stored, and in front of the rectum, the last part of the intestines. The seminal vesicles, just behind the prostate, are a group of glands that produce most of the semen.
The urethra, a tube that exits the body through the penis and contains urine and sperm, passes through the middle of the prostate. As a man gets older, the size of his prostate can change. It can be the size of a walnut in young men, while it can be larger in older men. (1)
Definition and Overview
Prostate cancer forms when abnormal cells develop and multiply in the prostate gland. Tumors and other abnormal growths are not all cancerous (malignant). Some tumors are not cancerous, they are referred to as benign cancers.
Benign tumors like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) do not pose a danger to life. They don't disperse to surrounding tissue or other body areas. These growths can be removed, and they will eventually grow again, but they rarely do.
It is known as metastasis when cancerous growths, like prostate cancer, spread to surrounding organs and tissues like the bladder or rectum or to other areas of the body. The abnormal growth can continue to develop even after being removed. If prostate cancer (metastatic disease) spreads widely outside of the prostate, it may be fatal.
The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but researchers suggest that many factors, including age, origin, family history, weight, and lifestyle, can increase a man's risk of the disease.
Options for treatment procedures are discussed with a patient after a prostate cancer diagnosis. The patient is informed of the negative effects of each treatment as well as the chances of survival provided by those treatments.
If treatment is decided, it is necessary to use the time before the treatment well to be healthy or stay healthy. Also, it is important to follow a doctor's advice about a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, participating in regular exercise, avoiding smoking, and consuming moderate amounts of alcohol. These are highly beneficial in the fight against prostate cancer. (2)
There are many treatment options for a patient diagnosed with prostate cancer. One or more of these treatments can be chosen and performed according to the possible risks and side effects and the condition of the patient.
When it is believed that prostate cancer has not spread outside of the prostate gland, surgery is frequently chosen as a treatment option. Radical prostatectomy is the primary procedure used to treat prostate cancer. The surgeon performs this procedure to completely remove the prostate gland as well as some of the tissue around it, including the seminal vesicles.
- Radiation Therapy
High-energy rays or particles are used in radiation treatment to eliminate cancer cells. Radiation therapy might be employed, depending on the prostate cancer's stage and other variables.
Using extremely low temperatures to freeze and kill the majority of prostate and prostate cancer cells is known as cryotherapy (also known as cryosurgery or cryoablation). Although it is occasionally referred to as cryosurgery, it is not a form of surgery.
- Hormone Therapy
Androgen suppression therapy is another name for hormone therapy. The purpose of this therapy is to lower androgen levels in the body or prevent them from promoting prostate cancer cell proliferation.
Anticancer drugs are administered orally or through venous injections in chemotherapy (chemo). These drugs reach cancer cells in most body areas through the bloodstream.
Drugs that stimulate a person's immune system to more efficiently detect and eliminate cancer cells are used in immunotherapy. The treatment of prostate cancer may involve specific immunotherapy approaches.
- Targeted Therapy
A type of cancer treatment known as targeted therapy employs drugs to pinpoint and target cancer cells while causing minimal harm to healthy cells. Each type of targeted therapy works in various ways, but they all change the way a cancer cell develops, separates, repairs itself, or interacts with other cells. (3)
Most prostate cancers can be cured with early detection, as long as the symptoms are recognized early. Patients eligible for prostate cancer treatment procedures commonly present the following symptoms.
- Slow or weak urine flow or urination problems
- Blood in urine or semen
- Erectile dysfunction (erectile dysfunction or ED)
- Pain in the hip, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that have spread to the bones
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
- Loss of bladder or bowel control (4)
Risks and Side Effects
Prostate cancer treatments have various risks and side effects. These are as follows.
- discomfort around the bottom
- loss of pubic hair
- inflammation of the bladder lining
- erectile dysfunction (impotence).
- hot flushes
- weight gain
- swelling and tenderness of the breasts
- erectile dysfunction
- loss of appetite
- vomiting (5)
Post-Procedure and Follow-up
In all cancer treatment processes, the doctor's recommendations and instructions should be followed carefully. At regular intervals, the cancer care team calls the patient to observe and continue treatment. These follow-up appointments should not be interrupted.
The patient's life can be affected in different ways, depending on the type of prostate cancer he or she has. Prostate cancer usually worsens slowly and may be symptom-free for years. Treatment may not be needed during this time. If the cancer is more likely to spread in the future, it may be necessary to undergo surgery or radiotherapy aimed at curing the cancer. After the treatments are completed and recovered, the patient can return to daily activities, go to work, usual social and leisure activities, and take care of himself. (6)
Completing treatment can be both stressful and exciting. It's normal to be relieved that treatment is over, but it can be difficult not to worry about cancer growing or returning. For best results, hormone therapy or other treatments may be taken to help keep the cancer under control for as long as possible, with the doctor's advice.
1- American Cancer Society. What Is Prostate Cancer? (https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/what-is-prostate-cancer.html#:~:text=Prostate%20cancer%20begins%20when%20cells,last%20part%20of%20the%20intestines).)
2- Urology Care Foundation. What is Prostate Cancer? (https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/prostate-cancer)
3- American Cancer Society. Treating Prostate Cancer. (https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/prostate-cancer/treating.html)
4- American Cancer Society. Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer. (https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/prostate-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html)
5- NHS. Prostate Cancer Treatment. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-cancer/treatment/)
6- NHS. Living With Prostate Cancer. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-cancer/living-with/)