Prostate cancer has been shown to be the most common cancer found in men. During their lifetime, about one man in seven is diagnosed with prostate cancer in America. By recognizing the prostate cancer symptoms, patients can have early diagnosis and treatment, which in turn will help reduce the death rate.
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Androgens or the male hormones are involved in the onset of prostate cancer. However, other factors such as genetic, environmental and infectious factors are also related to this type of cancer.
There are, however, a number of risk factors that may favor the development of prostate cancer.
- Age: Prostate cancer usually appears after age 45, and the chances of developing this cancer increase with age.
- Race: Prostate cancer is more common and more aggressive in black men.
- Genetic factors: Having relatives with prostate cancer increases the risk
- Diet: Animal fat consumption increases the risk. By contrast, vegetables, such as tomatoes and soybeans and other foods, such as salmon, could prevent it.
- Hormones elevated testosterone and IGF-1 (insulin growth factor) is associated with an increased risk.
- Ejaculatory frequency: it seems that having five or more ejaculations every week has a protective effect.
- Obesity: as in many other cancers, obesity increases the risk of developing prostate cancer.
95 percent of prostate cancer cases occur in the glandular tissue, which is called adenocarcinomas. The remaining 5 percent is the neuroendocrine cancer that originates in the small cells of the prostate.
In the early stages, prostate cancer usually presents no symptoms, hence when they do, it’s usually late and have already spread beyond the prostate.
One of the symptoms that usually appear is obstructive lower urinary tract symptoms. It is similar to those that occur in benign prostatic hypertrophy, though the symptom in the latter doesn’t show presence of blood in urine. The person usually have difficulty in urinating or stopping it, need to get up often at night to urinate, or feel a burning sensation in the process.
It has been found that up to 25% of patients who have urinary retention problems acutely present prostatic carcinoma; and of these, about 25% have metastases at diagnosis, which can cause bone pain, spinal cord compression, and coagulation disorders.
Other possible symptoms of prostate cancer are pain in the lower back, hips or thighs; or having erectile dysfunction.
Currently these signs are decreasing, thanks to testing that facilitate the diagnosis of the disease in asymptomatic early stages. However, these symptoms are not an accurate indication of the presence of prostate cancer and may be caused by other problems, so you should see a doctor to dispel your doubts.
The fact that prostate cancer manifests in later years is why it is very important that people who are likely to get the disease to undergo medical examinations frequently. It is important to remember the fact that men are more likely to develop the disease as they age.
There is no scientific proof that there is a link between the consumption of certain foods and reduced risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene, antioxidants present in tomatoes and watermelons, or the isoflavones found in soy have been studied in the prevention of this type of tumor; however the results have been inconclusive.
No preventive medicine is available either at present. In a study conducted in men with high risk of developing prostate cancer, the drug finasteride was able to reduce by 25 percent the risk of prostate cancer compared to placebo. However, the side effects in these patients, such as a reduced sex drive, impotence, and the presence of a higher rate of high-grade tumors (which have a worse prognosis), discourage the use of this drug today as prevention agent.
So the best things to do to deal with the risk of having prostate cancer are to undergo medical examinations frequently and recognize the prostate cancer symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment will help patients to get bigger chance of recovery.