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tvmthu
23-02-2012, 05:33 PM
Prostate Cancer Overview

What is prostate cancer? Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland grow out of control. There are often no early prostate cancer symptoms, but some men have urinary symptoms and discomfort. Prostate cancer treatment options are surgery, chemotherapy, cryotherapy, hormonal therapy, and/or radiation. In some instances, doctors recommend "watchful waiting."

What Is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system that produces the majority of fluid that makes up the semen, the thick fluid that carries sperm. The walnut-sized gland is located beneath a man's bladder and surrounds the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. Prostate function is regulated by testosterone, a male sex hormone produced mainly in the testicles.

Prostate cancer is a major health concern for American men. Although the disease is rare before age 50, experts believe that most elderly men have at least traces of it.

More than 217,000 new cases and about 32,000 deaths are attributed to prostate cancer each year in the U.S. For reasons not fully understood, African-American men have the highest frequency of prostate cancer in the world and the highest death rate from the disease. In other parts of the world -- notably Asia, Africa, and Latin America -- prostate cancer is rare.

Prostate cancer cells do not follow normal patterns and grow uncontrollably and spread to other tissues. Prostate cancer is typically a very slow growing tumor, often causing no symptoms until advanced stages. Most men with prostate cancer die of other causes -- many without ever realizing that they have the disease. But once prostate cancer begins to grow more rapidly or spreads outside the prostate, it is dangerous. This aggressive type of prostate cancer can occur at any age. Although the disease tends to progress slowly, it is generally fatal if it spreads beyond the prostate gland itself.

Prostate cancer in its early stages (confined to the prostate gland) can be cured. Fortunately, about 85% of American men with prostate cancer are diagnosed in the early stages.

Cancer that has spread beyond the prostate to distant tissues (such as the bones, lymph nodes, and lungs) is not curable, but it often can be controlled for many years. Because of the many advances in available treatments, the majority of men whose prostate cancer becomes widespread can expect to live five years or more.

What Causes Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer affects mainly older men. Four out of five cases are diagnosed in men over 65, but less than 1% in men under 50. Though rare, prostate cancer can be seen in men even in their 30's and 40's. Men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to die of it than is the general population. On a case-by-case basis, doctors cannot say with certainty what causes prostate cancer, but experts generally agree that diet contributes to the risk. Men who consume large amounts of fat -- particularly from red meat and other sources of animal fat -- are most likely to develop advanced prostate cancer. The disease is much more common in countries where meat and dairy products are dietary staples than in countries where the basic diet consists of rice, soybean products, and vegetables.

The underlying factor linking diet and prostate cancer is probably hormonal. Fats stimulate increased production of testosterone and other hormones, and testosterone acts to speed the growth of prostate cancer. High testosterone levels may stimulate dormant prostate cancer cells into activity. Some findings suggest that high testosterone levels also influence the initial onset of prostate cancer. Eating meat may be risky for other reasons: Meat cooked at high temperatures produces cancer-causing substances that directly affect the prostate. A few other risk factors have been noted. Welders, battery manufacturers, rubber workers, and workers frequently exposed to the metal cadmium seem to be abnormally vulnerable to prostate cancer.

Other risk factors include low physical activity and smoking.

Researchers know more about what will not cause prostate cancer than what will. No proven link exists between prostate cancer and an active sex life, vasectomy, masturbation, use of alcohol or tobacco, circumcision, infertility, infection of the prostate, or a common noncancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) that causes an enlarged prostate gland. Most elderly men experience an enlarged prostate to some degree. Drugs that may reduce the risk of prostate cancer include the use of aspirin, finasteride, statins, and other cholesterol and triglyceride lowering anti-inflammatory drugs. Adding certain foods in your diet may also help reduce the risk including tomato sauce, broccoli, cauliflower, cole slaw, and sauerkraut.

What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

There are no warning signs or symptoms of early prostate cancer. Once a malignant tumor causes the prostate gland to swell significantly, or once cancer spreads beyond the prostate, the following symptoms may be present:



A frequent need to urinate, especially at night.
Difficulty starting or stopping a stream of urine.
A weak or interrupted urinary stream.
Inability to urinate standing up.
A painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation.
Blood in urine or semen.


These are not symptoms of the cancer itself. Instead, they are the symptoms of the blockage from the cancer growth within the prostate and surrounding tissues.

Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include:



Dull, incessant deep pain or stiffness in the pelvis, lower back, ribs, or upper thighs; arthritic pain in the bones of those areas.
Loss of weight and appetite, fatigue, nausea, or vomiting.
Swelling of the lower extremities.
Weakness or paralysis in the lower limbs.



Call Your Doctor About Prostate Cancer If:



You have difficulty urinating or find that urination is painful or otherwise abnormal. Your doctor will examine your prostate gland to determine whether it is enlarged, inflamed with an infection, or may have cancer.
You have chronic pain in your lower back, pelvis, upper thighbones, or other bones. Ongoing pain without explanation always merits medical attention. Pain in these areas can have various causes but may be from the spread of advanced prostate cancer.
You experience unexplained weight loss.
You have swelling in your legs.
You have weakness in your legs and/or difficulty walking.