Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop in the prostate. These abnormal cells can continue to multiply in an uncontrolled way and sometimes spread outside the prostate into nearby or distant parts of the body. Only men have a prostate. It is a small gland that sits below the bladder near the rectum. It surrounds the urethra, the passage in the penis through which urine and semen pass.
The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. It produces most of the fluid that makes up semen that enriches sperm. The prostate needs the male hormone testosterone to grow and develop.
The prostate is often described as being the size of a walnut and it is normal for it to grow as men age. Sometimes this can cause problems, such as difficulty urinating. These problems are common in older men and not always symptoms or signs of cancer.
Prostate Gland is a gland that produces the fluid for semen, which helps transport sperm during ejaculation. The prostate is located in front of the rectum and just below the bladder, wrapping around the urethra. It is about the size of a walnut. A malignant tumor growing in the prostate is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer can spread to surrounding lymph nodes, to other organs, and even to bones.
Prostate cancer is generally a slow growing disease and the majority of men with low grade prostate cancer live for many years without symptoms and without it spreading and becoming life-threatening. However, high grade disease spreads quickly and can be lethal. Appropriate management is key.
Recognized and Possible Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
- Increasing age
- Family history
- High-fat western diet
Early prostate cancer usually does not cause any symptoms. But as the tumor grows, it causes a variety of symptoms. Some cases of advanced prostate cancer have these symptoms:
A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
Difficulty starting urination of holding back urine
Weak or interrupted flow of urine
Difficulty in having an erection
Blood in urine or semen
Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
Prostate cancer is diagnosed through a series of test and exams.
Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
It is done by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum. It helps the doctor to determine if the prostate is enlarged, hard, or not smooth.
Prostate – Specific Antigen (PSA) Test
It is a substance produced by the prostate cells. You are at risk of developing prostate cancer if your PSA level is above normal.
Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS) guided biopsy
It is used to detect abnormal prostate growth and to guide a needle to get tissue from the abnormal prostate. The tissue is examined under a microscope to determine the presence of cancer.
Cancer is Staged
T1 –when the tumor is confirmed to the prostate. They are also small that they cannot be felt during a DRE or Detected during ultrasound.
T2 – the cancer is confined to the prostate, but it is large enough to be detected during a DRE.
T3 and T4 – prostate cancers have expanded beyond the prostate into surrounding tissues.