Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men around the world. It affects the prostate gland, a small gland located near the bladder that is responsible for producing seminal fluid.
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Prostate cancer like most other cancers is caused due to a presence of abnormal cells. Normal healthy prostate cells undergo mutations and then proceed to divide relentlessly ultimately forming a tumor.
There are a few factors that can place you at a higher risk of prostate cancer:
In its early stages, prostate cancer does not show any symptoms. Later, certain symptoms could be a cause for concern, such as:
The above stated symptoms may also caused because of other prostate problems and it hence recommended that you undergo diagnostic tests.
In case the cancer has metastasized, symptoms might expand to include:
There are different diagnostic tests that can be done for prostate cancer. These include:
In certain cases of high risk prostate cancer, before or along with your radical prostatectomy your surgeon will perform what is known as a pelvic lymphadenectomy. The surgery consists of removing one part of the lymph nodes present in the pelvis that lie along the external, internal and common iliac arteries. The surgery is usually performed laparoscopically and is done to prevent the cancer from spreading to the lymph nodes, or removing micrometastases or to check for the presence of any cancer cells.
A radical prostatectomy is the main surgery performed for prostate cancer and entails removing the gland and possibly some surrounding tissue. This is a useful form of treatment if your cancer is localized in the prostate.
The traditional surgery involves the following steps:
The radical prostatectomy could also be done through a manual or robotic laparoscopy.
Radiation therapy works by aiming high energy waves at the cancerous cells. This causes the cancer cells to die and though the healthy cells sustain some damage, they can repair themselves. The treatment takes place over 4 weeks, in short sessions of 5 days per week.
This treatment is advisable for men who have a localized prostate cancer, or the cancer has only advanced to nearby tissue. Additionally, you will undergo a hormone therapy prior to undergoing radiotherapy. Hormones ensure a higher success rate by shrinking your prostate.
There are other less common treatments available, such as:
Active surveillance: For men that have been diagnosed with localised low-risk prostate cancer, the option of active surveillance is a viable strategy that has shown success. This means that patients do not immediately undergo chemo or radiotherapy, but instead defer treatment and monitor their cancer. This is done by undergoing regular PSA tests, DRE and biopsies. The principle behind this is, that a low risk of prostate cancer will not cause any dire effects to your health, and you will avoid the aggressive side effects of unnecessary cancer treatments.
Watchful waiting: Similar to active surveillance, watchful waiting involves a less ‘active’ and strict follow up routine. It is also more suitable for men who may have other health problems, and aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy may cause more damage than the cancer itself. If men on watchful waiting do have treatment at some point, it is more geared towards reducing symptoms than as a cure.
Prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer, and does not present with any symptoms in its early stages. There are a now, a variety of treatments available, ranging from surgery to brachytherapy. It is important to keep in mind that the treatment will be recommended to you based how your cancer has progressed. Finally, each of the treatments come with their risks and side effects, so make sure you have spoken to your physician about these before you start a treatment.
The survival rate for early stage prostate cancer is almost at a 100%, meaning the prognosis is excellent. These odds, along with your mentality and willingness to partake in the treatments fully, will play a major role in the outcome.
We understand that before going through a major treatment like surgery or radiotherapy, you may be feeling unsure and want a second opinion, or you would like to look for the top oncologist specializing in prostate cancer, or for a clinical trial doing cutting edge research. For support with any of these queries and question, Qunomedical is here for you 24/7.