Prostate cancer is a common and significant health concern among men, particularly those aged 65 and older.
In urban areas, it ranks as the second most common cancer in India, and its incidence is expected to double by 2025.
This blog aims to provide an in-depth understanding of prostate cancer, its causes, early signs and symptoms, and methods for diagnosis.
Prostate cancer mainly affects the elderly population and is among the top ten cancers in India. Six out of every ten men diagnosed with cancer above the age of 65 are likely to be prostate cancer patients.
It is crucial to understand the factors contributing to this disease and be aware of the early warning signs to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment.
Causes of Prostate Cancer
- Old Age :
The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. Most cases are diagnosed in men over 65 years old.
- Heredity :
A family history of prostate cancer can increase an individual’s risk. If a first-degree relative, such as a father or brother, has had the disease, the chances of developing prostate cancer are higher.
- Genetics :
Specific gene mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, are associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
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Early Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer often presents with urinary problems, as the prostate gland is located close to the bladder and urethra.
Some of the early signs and symptoms include:
- Difficulty in urination :
Men with prostate cancer may have trouble starting and stopping the flow of urine.
- Painful urination :
Discomfort or pain may be experienced during urination.
- Increased frequency of urination :
A frequent need to urinate, particularly during the night (nocturia), can be an early sign of prostate cancer.
- Incomplete evacuation :
Men with prostate cancer may feel that they have not fully emptied their bladder after urinating.
- Limping :
Pain or discomfort in the hips, back, or pelvis may cause limping or difficulty walking.
- Swelling :
Swelling in the legs or feet may indicate prostate cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes.
When patients with locally advanced prostate cancer visit a doctor, it is often discovered that the cancer has spread to bones, lymph nodes, or blood vessels. The most common site for metastasis is the bones.
Diagnosing of Prostate Cancer
- Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) :
A urologist will perform a DRE to assess prostate enlargement and determine the size of the prostate.
- Serum PSA Test :
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the level of PSA in the blood, which is produced by prostate cells. A normal level ranges from 0 to 4 nanograms per milliliter. Higher levels may indicate an abnormality, such as prostate cancer or other prostate conditions.
- MRI and other Scans :
If the urologist suspects prostate cancer, they may order an MRI or other imaging tests to further evaluate the prostate and surrounding tissues.
- PSMA PET Scan :
The prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET scan is a specialized imaging test that can detect prostate cancer cells specifically. It is particularly useful in identifying cancer that has spread to bones, blood vessels, or other areas of the body.
Clinical examination and biopsy: A doctor may perform a clinical examination, such as a digital rectal examination, and take a biopsy of the prostate tissue for further analysis.
Prostate cancer is a growing health concern for men worldwide. Being aware of the risk factors, early signs, and symptoms is vital in seeking timely medical attention.
Early detection increases the chances of successful treatment and better outcomes. Understanding the various diagnostic methods can help patients and their families navigate the complex journey of prostate cancer diagnosis and management.
It is essential to maintain open communication with healthcare providers and ask questions to ensure a thorough understanding of the condition.
Regular check-ups and screenings, especially for those with a family history of prostate cancer or other risk factors, can be crucial in detecting the disease in its early stages.
Raising awareness about prostate cancer, its causes, symptoms, and diagnostic methods can help reduce the impact of this disease on individuals and society.
Remember to consult a healthcare professional if you experience any concerning symptoms or have questions about prostate cancer. Education and early detection are critical in the fight against this prevalent and potentially life-threatening disease.
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