Prostate cancer affects the prostate gland. It is a gland responsible for producing semen –the fluid that provides nourishment and helps in transporting the sperm.
Although Prostate cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in the early stages, it may show the following signs in the later stages:
- Trouble in urination
- Decreased force in the urine stream
- The appearance of blood in semen
- Feeling uncomfortable in the pelvic area
- Feeing pain in the bone
- Erectile dysfunction
Doctors and researchers have not been able to identify the causes of prostate cancer. It happens when there is an abnormal growth of cells in the prostate gland. Once cancer sets in, it can spread to other parts. Prostatectomy may be used to cure the condition.
Tests and Diagnosis
If a male patient shows the symptoms of prostate cancer, the doctor will ask him about his ask personal and medical history followed by a blood test to assess PSA levels. He will also undertake a urine test to look for other parameters that might indicate the presence or absence of the condition. He is also likely to carry out a physical examination in the form of the digital rectal exam (DRE) which includes checking the prostate manually with their finger for any abnormalities. Prostatic hyperplasia is another condition that could raise suspicions about prostate cancer. However, the condition is noncancerous and indicates an increase in the size of the prostate gland.
The following tests may be recommended if the doctor suspects cancer –
A PCA3 test: It is a test used to detect the presence of the PCA3 gene in the urine.
Transrectal ultrasound: It is carried out by inserting a probe with a camera into the rectum.
Biopsy: A doctor takes a tissue sample for examining under the microscope. It is necessary for confirming the presence and type of cancer.
Prostate Cancer Treatment depends on the following factors –
- The stage and grade of the cancer
- Your risk quotient (whether the cancer is low, intermediate or high risk)
- Your age and overall health
- Which treatment you prefer concerning side effects and treatment goals
Treatment choices include the following options:
- Localized Therapy
- Systemic Therapy
Active surveillance includes monitoring the cancer growth through regular PSA tests, DREs and periodic biopsies. With active surveillance, the doctor determines the rate of growth of cancer. If the rate is fast, then the next steps may be suggested by him.
Watchful waiting methodology follows a less involved system of monitoring cancer minus the treatment. It is an availed by men who cannot undergo therapy due to some reason. It is also an option for men are suffering from other medical conditions that could interfere with the treatment.
Radical Prostatectomy for Prostate Cancer
These are carried out in three forms-
Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (RALP)-
It involves the removal of the prostate with the assistance of laparoscopic surgical tools and a camera. These devices are controlled by a robotic system which assists the surgeon.
Retropubic Open Radical Prostatectomy
It involves making an incision in the lower belly and removing the prostate through this opening.
Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy-
Small tools and a camera are used to make small cuts in the abdomen followed by the removal of the prostate.