What is the prostate and what is its function, what are the causes of prostate cancer, how do you intervene and how are diseases prevented: these are some of the questions answered by Dr. Massimo Lazzeri, urologist in Humanitas, guest at Good to Know on Rai1.

“The prostate is a gland attached to the male genital tract, located in the pelvis, serves to secrete the seminal fluid that helps the sperm in their course and in their goal of fertilizing the egg.

Prostate cancer is the disease most frequently diagnosed in men, and one in five malignancies is estimated to be prostate cancer.


Causes of prostate cancer

“There are some ethnic groups and some geographical areas where the incidence is greater or lesser: today we know, for example, that the African-American race has a greater incidence; we know that Northern Europe is a geographical area where there is a greater incidence and that there are geographical areas of population where the incidence is smaller, such as the Asian populations.

There are family genetic causes, and lifestyle and nutrition also play a key role.

These diseases are the balance between personal genetic constitution and the influence of environmental factors. Vegetables and fruit are to be preferred, while the reduction of fats can help to develop a factor of prevention.


What are the symptoms?

“The signs and symptoms are blurred at an early stage, so a great deal of effort is needed for early diagnosis. Very often the disorders are of a urinary nature (and therefore not specific to prostate cancer), but they can help in leading the patient to the urologist for a visit and thus start a path of early diagnosis. An example of this is urinary urgency, the reduction in the power of the jet and urination irritation.


The role of the PSA today

“PSA (prostate specific antigen, a value detectable by a blood test) is a very simple test that has revolutionized prostate disease. Today, however, we know that the schematization of the PSA is not as true as it has been believed for many years. Traditionally, in fact, the limit of 4 units was considered: if the patient had more than 4 units in the blood, there was a problem. This examination, on the other hand, although very sensitive, is not very specific. Let’s take an example: a sound signal announces the arrival of a message on your mobile phone, but until we open the message we don’t know its content. The PSA today is that “beep” of the mobile phone, but it is up to the patient who has the will to investigate, and the doctor who takes charge of the patient, to see the content of that message. A high PSA therefore does not automatically mean prostate cancer.


The novelties in care

“The treatment of prostatic pathology has been revolutionized especially in surgery since the introduction of the robotic device. This technique helps improve surgical performance and reduce patients’ fears about urinary and sexual system function. In fact, today we have a very good continence and sexual power is guaranteed; in cases where there is a reduction in sexual power, you can still resort to drug therapy.

The big challenge for the future is genetic research in this area. We are increasingly moving towards a personalized approach, moving from a population pathology to an individual pathology,” concluded Dr. Lazzeri.