Prostate Cancer: Causes and Symptoms
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, affecting millions of men around the world every year. The American Cancer Society documents that more than two million men in the U.S. consider themselves prostate cancer survivors. They offer a quiz on their website to help debunk some common myths surrounding this sensitive subject.
One of the positive things about prostate cancer is that it can be treated successfully in many cases. The prostate resides below the bladder, in front of the rectum. The urethra (the tube that carries urine and semen through the penis and out of the body) runs directly through the center of the prostate. Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland, which is responsible for making some of the fluid that is part of semen, begin to grow uncontrollably.
Although there are different types, most all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas. Other types of prostate cancer are rare, and include:
- Small cell carcinomas
- Neuroendocrine tumors (other than small cell carcinomas)
- Transitional cell carcinomas
Most prostate cancers grow slowly, which helps aid in successful treatment, if caught early. It is also possible to have prostate cancer that remains undetected by both patient and doctor, if a man is asymptomatic. If you are looking for a detailed guide on the causes, risk factors, prevention, early detection, diagnosis and staging, the American Cancer Society website offers in-depth information.
Doctors agree that early detection is the best way to prevent prostate cancer from adversely affecting your quality of life and health. To that end, regularly scheduled visits to your primary care physician are highly recommended. Your physician can conduct tests to determine if cancer is present, and together you can decide on a course of treatment.
There are many forms of treatment for prostate cancer, including nutrition and lifestyle changes, and high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), which destroys cancer cells by heating them with highly focused ultrasonic beams. This treatment is fairly new to the U.S., but has been used in other countries for a while. Other treatments include immunotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.