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PROSTATE CANCER

The Prostate is a small gland present only in men and it is situated at the base of the bladder and wrapped around the urethra which is the tube that connects the penis with the bladder. It has a role in maintaining the integrity of the seminal fluid and also has a role in orgasmic response in the male.

In earlier decades Cancer of the Prostate was a disease seen predominantly in old men. That is changing and today it is a disease that can be seen even in men in their forties. Prostate Cancer is believed to be the second most common cancer in men. Prostate Cancer can be present for several years without producing any symptoms. The incidence of prostate cancer may be as high as 8% of all men but not all of them may manifest symptoms of the disease. Many men with prostate cancer if developed at a late enough age may die of other causes before the cancer can cause mortality in them. Among cancers prostate cancer is also relatively slow growing and if detected early before any spread has occurred outside the gland it is today almost entirely curable.

Cause

  • Symptoms

  • Diagnosis

  • Staging

  • Treatment options

  • Prognosis

  • What causes Prostate Cancer?

    Age over 70 years, Genetic factors with family history of the disease, Racial factors with African Americans having a higher incidence , a diet rich in fat and exposure to some chemicals are believed to be associated with this disease.

    Symptoms

    Most patients may not present with symptoms in the early stages. The symptoms when they occur include difficulty in passing urine, increased frequency of urination, hesitancy in urination, feeling of incomplete evacuation of the bladder and occasionally blood in the urine. Most patients may complain of having to get up several times each night to pass urine. Many patients may also have dribbling of urine. If you have any of these symptoms you would need to see a doctor.

    Diagnosis

    A clinical examination with a rectal examination will tell your doctor a fair amount about the condition of the prostate. Generally an Ultrasound scan of the abdomen and pelvic area and if required a CT Scan would help identify the size of the prostate. Blood levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) are estimated to provide information on whether the enlargement of the prostate is due to a benign cause or due to Cancer. Elevated levels of PSA often indicate malignancy of the prostate.

    Treatment:

    This depends upon the stage of the disease and the age and general condition of the patient. Radiotherapy and Surgery are the two mainstays in treatment of Prostate Cancer. Hormonal Therapy is also a useful treatment option especially for those cancers that have spread beyond the prostate gland. Chemotherapy has only a relatively smaller role. In radiotherapy both Tele Therapy(External radiation) and Brachy Therapy(where a radioactive pellet is implanted into the prostate ) are used with good results. Hormonal Therapy is usually aimed as suppressing the levels of the male hormone Testosterone which is believed to play an important role in the growth of the cancer. The surgical treatment is usually radical prostatectomy which is a major surgical procedure or TURP which stands for Trans urethral resection of the Prostate. Both procedures can lead to incontinence and impotence.

    Prognosis:

    Among the Cancers the disease involving the prostate has among the best prognosis. If detected before the disease has spread outside the gland the condition is often totally curable. Even in cases where the disease has spread outside the gland the survival rates compare very favorably when compared with many other types of cancers.

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