Prostate Cancer- Are you at risk?

The word ‘cancer’ is extremely disturbing for any person as it is usually associated with prolonged illness, morbidity & above all the risk of losing the life. Prostate Cancer is the second most common type of cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer death among men worldwide. The few commonly asked queries regarding prostate cancer are:

What is Prostate Cancer & Is Prostate Enlargement always Cancerous?

Prostate cancer is cancer of the prostate glands. Prostate is part of the male reproductive system & is located just below the urinary bladder & surrounds the urethra. It is about the size of a walnut and weighs about an ounce.

Growths in the prostate can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).Benign growth of prostate is more common & is normal aging change in all men..

Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer

What causes Prostate Cancer?

What causes prostate cancer is still unknown. Research hopes to find the answer soon. Modern theory is that many things can raise a man’s risk for prostate cancer. These risk factors include increasing age, American-African ethnicity, positive family history, smoking, obesity, etc.

How to diagnose Prostate Cancer?

Initial Prostate Cancer evaluation is done by physical examination of prostate by an Urologist & a simple blood test (Serum PSA).Based on these, further tests like prostate biopsy may be recommended in suspicious cases for confirmation.

Unfortunately, there are no symptoms in early prostate cancer. Typical symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Pain in the lower back
  • Pain in the hips or upper thighs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Bone pain
  • Pedal edema – usually arise when the disease has already become advanced. Hence, it is vital to talk to your health care provider in case of urinary symptoms.

Should Prostate Cancer screening be done?

Screening is when you test for a disease even if you have no symptoms. The American Urological Association (AUA) recommends talking with your health care provider about if you should be screened and when. AUA recommends screening in following groups of people:

  • Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65)
  • Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).

Does raised PSA always mean Prostate Cancer?

Answer is No.

PSA may be raised in many other benign conditions especially prostate infections.

Can Prostate Cancer Be Prevented?

There is no known way to prevent prostate cancer. But if you do things that are heart healthy, you will also keep your prostate healthy. Eating right, exercising, watching your weight, and not smoking can improve your health and help avoid prostate cancer.
Use of drugs like finasteride & dutasteride for cancer prevention has been evaluated but results are still debatable & inconclusive.