Understanding Prostate Cancer

Posted on: 13 November 2020

The prostate is a small gland about the size of a chestnut, and its role is to produce the fluid that sperm travel in. Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer in men, and while this cancer can be slow to grow, it can spread beyond the prostate when it's not diagnosed early enough. It's not clear why some men develop this type of cancer, but having a family history of prostate cancer, being obese and being over the age of fifty are considered to be risk factors. Here's an overview of the symptoms, diagnoses and treatment approach for prostate cancer:


Common symptoms of prostate cancer include erectile dysfunction, difficulty urinating and unexplained weight loss. It's also common to notice blood in your urine and semen, and in the later stages of the condition, you may develop bone pain. Some men with prostate cancer will experience lethargy, low mood and loss of appetite.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Your doctor will diagnose prostate cancer by taking details of your symptoms and carrying out a rectal exam. This involves them inserting a gloved finger into your rectum to check the shape and size of your prostate. A blood sample will also be taken to check for raised levels of prostate-specific antigen, which can be indicative of cancer. You will also undergo diagnostic imaging, such as an ultrasound or MRI, to enable your doctor to gain a detailed picture of the condition of your prostate and whether cancerous cells have spread to surrounding tissue.

Your doctor will recommend a treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms and the results of their investigations. When prostate cancer is diagnosed early, hormone therapy may be recommended. The aim of this treatment is to kill prostate cancer cells by lowering the levels of testosterone in your body, which the cancer cells need to survive. Radiation therapy may also be recommended to kill off cancer cells, and this treatment can be used on its own or with cryoablation, which is a treatment that kills prostate cancer cells with cold gas. When the cancerous cells in your prostate are significant, you may be offered surgery to completely remove the prostate gland and, if necessary, the surrounding tissue.

Prostate cancer is associated with a high recovery rate in those who are diagnosed early. So, if you're experiencing symptoms related to prostate cancer, schedule an appointment with your men's health care centre as soon as possible.


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