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Prostate Cancer

Sep 14, 2017 in Medicine

Prostate cancer refers to a form of cancer which affects the prostate glands of the reproductive system of men. The prostate glands are located below the bladder and are responsible for the production of seminal fluid that transports the semen during sexual intercourse. Prostate cancer affects men only (Ellsworth 2009). Prostate cancer involves gradual growth of cells of the prostate gland to large masses of cell deposits in the prostate glands. Chung, Isaacs and Simons (2007) also affirm that most prostate cancers grow slowly. However, prostate cancer may grow aggressively and rapidly in some cases. According to Ramon and Denis (2007), the cells of prostate cancer may also spread from the prostate glands to other parts of the body through a process known as metastasis. The most common parts of the body that are often affected by metastasized cells include the bones and lymph nodes.

Prostate cancer mostly affects men aged fifty years or more. According to Lara (2011), prostate cancer is the sixth leading cause of deaths that are related to cancer among men. In addition, Lara (2011) asserts that prostate cancer is more prevalent in developed countries such as the United States of America and Europe. It also has a high increasing rate in developing countries such as American Samoa, Afghanistan and Indonesia. Prostate cancer is very rare in underdeveloped countries in Africa such as Algeria, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Influences of the Condition

The major factors that influence the development of prostate cancer include behavioral factors such as lifestyle of an individual and genetic inheritance, for example, people who eat foods that are rich in fats and red meat are a risk of contracting prostate cancer whereas people who exercise regularly have lower risks of infection. According to Katz (2011), people who have many sexual partners or start sexual activities at an early age are also at higher risks of getting prostate cancer.

Causes of Prostate Cancer

The two major factors that have been associated with the development of prostate cancer include genetics and diet. Prostate cancer has also been linked to obesity among adults, aging and genetic inheritance. According to Vijayakumar and Chen (2011), prostate cancer is more common among men aged above fifty years and quite uncommon among men aged below forty five years. The average age for diagnosis of prostate cancer is seventy years. Men who have immediate family members especially a father or brother with prostate cancer are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.  Vijayakumar and Chen (2011) also assert that genetic inheritance doubles the risk of infection by prostate cancer among men with first-degree family members who have prostate cancer. Moreover, Lara (2011) also affirms that having a father or a brother who has been diagnosed of prostate cancer doubles the chances of getting infected with the disease. In addition, adult males with high blood pressure also have higher risks of getting infected with prostate cancer.

In addition, dietary factors such as excessive consumption of red meat and too much use of multivitamins have also been associated with development of prostate cancers. Ellsworth (2009) also emphasizes that eating foods rich in fats may also cause prostate cancer. Racial factors have also been associated with prostate cancer with African American men having a higher risk of infection as compared to men from East Asia and Native Americans.

Physiological Effects

Some of the most common physiological effects of prostate cancer include difficulties and pain during urination, difficulties and pain when having sexual intercourse and erectile dysfunction. The urinary system may also become dysfunctional.

Signs and Symptoms

Prostate cancer does not show any signs and symptoms during its early stages of development. In some cases, prostate cancer may show signs and symptoms that are similar to symptoms of the Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. The most common signs and symptoms of prostate cancer include increased urination at night, pain during urination, inability to maintain prolonged urination and uncontrollable and irregular urination. The urine of the patient may also contain blood, a condition referred to as hematuria. According to Bard (2008), prostate cancers also affect the urinary tract and may cause changes within the urinary tract and the male reproductive system thus leading to urinary and erectile dysfunctions.

Patients of prostate cancer also complain of mild to extreme pain during sexual intercourse and may have abnormal erections. Bard (2008) asserts that the pain during sexual intercourse among patients of prostate cancer is caused by painful ejaculation as a result of decreased release of seminal fluids from the infected prostate glands. When prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, the patient may also experience pain in the bones, especially in the back, pelvis and ribs. Prostate cancer that spreads to the spine may lead to compression of the spinal cord thus causing weakness of the legs and incontinency of urine and feces (Ramon & Denis 2007). However, Walsh and Worthington (2008) argue that most men with prostate cancer do not have symptoms and may not go for a therapy to cure the disease. As a consequence, they may die of other related diseases.

Diagnosis

Prostate cancer is diagnosed through physical examination or conducting a laboratory examination using Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). During a physical examination, the physician checks up the appearance and structure of the prostate gland as well as observing the signs and symptoms exhibited by the patient. According to Leeuwen (2012), prostate-specific antigen (PSA) helps in increasing the detection of prostate cancer but does not help in reducing mortality rates caused by prostate cancer. However, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) urges that physicians should avoid the use of Prostate Specific Antigen testing because it increases the risk of over-diagnosing as well as the risk of over-treating the disease because most prostate cancers are usually asymptomatic. The United States Preventive Services Task Force argues that the potential benefits that are gained after conducting a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test do not prevail over or exceed the harms that are caused by the PSA tests (Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia 2012).

Treatment

Prostate cancer can be treated through minor surgeries and radiation therapy. In cases where the disease has advanced, treatment methods that would be used include chemotherapy, cryosurgery and hormonal therapy. Walsh and Worthington (2008) hint that various medical research studies suggest that masturbation reduces the risk of contracting prostate cancer.

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