Prostate Cancer: Looking Out for the Signs
The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland located below the bladder, and in front of the rectum. This gland produces the seminal fluid that nourishes an d serves to transport sperm cells. Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells in the body, and prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men world-wide. There are different kinds of prostate cancer, though most of them are adenocarcinomas (developing from the gland cells that produce seminal fluid). Here are some of the other types:
- Small cell carcinomas
- Transitional cell carcinomas
SymptomsIn the early stages of prostate cancer, there may not be any evident symptoms because the prostate has not been enlarged enough to affect adjacent tubes and the bladder. Here are some the symptoms that appear later in the development of prostate cancer:
- Weak and sporadic urine stream
- Difficulty initiating urination
- Pain or discomfort in the pelvic area
- Increased frequency of urination
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Pain or a burning sensation during urination
- Pain during ejaculation
- Pain the lower back, thighs and hips
- Feeling as though you have not completely emptied the bladder
Potential Pre-cancerous ConditionsIt is suggested that prostate cancer starts off as a pre-cancerous condition, and later develops into a cancerous state. Some of there include:
Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN)In PIN, prostate cell morphology is altered, but they do not grow into other parts of the prostate, as cancerous cells would. There are two types of PIN: high-grade and low-grade. High-grade PIN cells are more abnormally arranged, and tend to be related to an increased potential to develop cancer. However, most men with PIN do not develop prostate cancer.
Proliferative Inflammatory Atrophy (PIA)PIA reduces the size of prostate cells, and it is believed to lead to high-grade PIN, or even directly to prostate cancer.
Risk FactorsThough there are no certain causes for prostate cancer, we do know that there are certain factors that increase the likelihood of its development. Here is a list of them:
- Age: It is well-known that as one grows older, the probability of developing prostate cancer goes up. It rarely occurs in men below the age of 40.
- Smoking: This increases both the risk of developing the cancer, as well as dying from it.
- Genetic Inheritance: A history of prostate cancer in one’s family means that you may be at a higher risk of developing it yourself.
- Diet: Though the particulars of dietary influence are not understood, it has been shown that obesity increases the risk of dying from the cancer, as well as lack of exercise.