Prostate cancer is cancer in the prostate, in men only. The prostate is between the penis and the bladder. It is in a shape of a walnut. The function of the prostate is to help produce semen.
There are three types of prostate cancer:
- early stage, when the cancer is in the prostate only and has not spread
- locally advanced prostate cancer, when the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues
- advanced prostate cancer, when the cancer has spread to other part of the body; this is also called metastatic prostate cancer
Prostate cancer usually develops in men over 50. It can spread to other part of the body, especially the bones.
The symptoms of prostate cancer usually develop when the cancer starts pressing the urethra. The symptoms are:
- frequent need for urination
- taking a long time for urination
- weak flow
- difficulty in starting to pee
- feeling of not emptied bladder after urination
- blood in the semen
- bone or back pain
- loss of appetite
- pain in the testicles
- erectile dysfunction
The cause of prostate cancer is not exactly known. It is known that cancer occurs due to abnormal growth of cells, which do not die in their programmed time, forming a tumour.
Some of the considered causes are: age, ethnicity (more common in African and black Caribbean people), family history, and certain foods which are still being examined.
The risk factors for developing prostate cancer are:
- age – more likely over 50; it is even thought that 80% of the men over 80, will develop a prostate cancer
- family history
- diet – calcium-rich food is thought to increase the risk of prostate cancer
Complications from prostate cancer can arise when it metastasizes. It can spread to other surrounding organs, to the bladder, or the bones. This causes pain and broken bones. Other problems are urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. There are medications, catheters or vacuum devises for these complications.
Prevention of prostate cancer may be possible when reducing the factors of risk. This involves leading a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy diet, regular exercises, and regular check-ups of the prostate, especially over 50.