“Have you ever experienced difficulty in urination, or decreases in speed during urination?” Many elderly men experience such problems and are ashamed to discuss about it. Some even consider it as a common aging process. In fact, this may be a sign of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the no. 3 of the most commonly seen cancer in male. According to the statistics, there are about 1, 400 new cases each year, most patients are over 60. The older you are, the greater the chance you have. Since prostate cancer has slow growth rate, so the sooner you treat it, the greater chance of recovery. It is suggested that male above 50 should have regular prostate examination.
Causes of prostate cancer
The cause of prostate cancer is still unknown. However, recent research showed that high fat and high protein diet, as well as viral infection, such as HPV and EB virus, may increase the chance of having prostate cancer.
Symptoms of prostate cancer
What is prostate? Prostate has the shape of a walnut. It is a gland located in the male reproductive system between the bladder and rectum, surrounding the urinary tract. However, prostate cancer has no obvious signs in the early stages until the tumor grows big enough to cause urinary problems, such as hesitation in urination, pain, frequent urination, nocturia. Patients may suffer from severe weight loss in the later stages.
Examination for prostate cancer
- Doctors would first perform a digital examination to examine the condition of the prostate and the chance of having cancer.
- Blood test for PSA will be performed if necessary. If PSA concentration is high, ultrasound scan, CT or MRI will be performed to confirm the diagnosis. X rays will also be performed to check whether there is metastasis to the bone.
- Besides, the most effective diagnosis is rectal biopsy, though it may cause hematuria, etc. Urologist would assess the risk before performing the biopsy.
Treatment for prostate cancer
Besides conventional surgery with incision on the lower abdomen or the groin, treatments for prostate cancers in early stages include minimally invasive surgery to remove tumor with the use of laparoscopic instruments. Recently the use of robotic surgery has been adopted in surgeries for prostate cancer as well.
Moreover, radiotherapy, including external and internal treatment, may also be adopted. The former one is performed from the outside of the body, while the later one includes the intake of radioactive substances to emit radiation towards the cancer cells. For elderly patients, it is better to have medications or injections to control the symptoms by suppressing the production of male hormones.
Risks of prostate cancer surgery
Removal of prostate may cause urinary incontinence. Severe complications are rare.
Prevention of prostate cancer
- Low fat, low protein diet
- Have annual prostate examination if you are over 50 with family history of prostate cancer.
The information on this website is for general educational purpose only.
Readers should consult their physician before considering treatment, and should not interpret their condition solely based on the information above.