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Prostate Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Screening, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Sep 01, 2023

Prostate Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Screening, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Prostate cancer is one type of cancer that can appear in the prostate. Seminal fluid, which nourishes and transports sperm, is secreted by the prostate, a little gland in men that resembles a walnut.

Prostate cancer is among the most typical cancers. Since many prostate cancers are slow-growing and restricted to the prostate gland, they may not cause much harm there. Although some prostate tumours spread slowly and may not even need treatment, others are aggressive and may.

The best prognosis is for prostate cancer in its early stages that is still restricted to the prostate gland.

Causes Of Prostate Cancer

What specifically causes prostate cancer is unknown. Medical experts claim that prostate cancer begins when the DNA of the prostate cells changes. A cell's DNA contains the instructions that govern the behaviour of the cell. The changes give the cells instructions to grow and divide more quickly than regular cells do. While other cells would die, the aberrant cells survive.

A tumour is created by the accumulating aberrant cells, which can spread to invade neighbouring tissue. Over time, certain aberrant cells may separate and disperse (metastasize) to different bodily regions.

Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

In the early stages the symptoms of prostate cancer are not visible. More advanced prostate cancer may show symptoms like:

  • Having difficulty urinating
  • Decreased urine stream force
  • Urine with blood in it
  • Blood in the sperm
  • Bone discomfort
  • Shedding pounds without exerting any effort
  • Erection issues

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Risk Factors Of Prostate Cancer 

The risk factors of prostate cancer include the following:

  • Older. Your chance of getting prostate cancer increases as you get older. A majority of persons over 50 are affected by it.
  • Race. For unexplained reasons, men of colour have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than people of other races. Black males have a higher risk of developing aggressive or advanced prostate cancer.
  • The family's history. If a parent, sibling, child, or other blood related has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may be at a higher risk. You may also be at a higher risk of prostate cancer if you have a strong family history of breast cancer or if you carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
  • Obesity. It's probable that people who are obese have a higher chance of prostate cancer than people who are considered to be of a healthy weight, even though studies have produced conflicting results. Obese people have a higher risk of developing more aggressive malignancies that are more likely to recur following initial treatment.

Screening For Prostate Cancer

Screenings help to identify prostate cancer early. You will most likely get your first screening procedure at age 55 if your risk is average.If you belong to a high-risk category, you could require earlier testing. Screenings typically come to an end at age 70.

If screenings reveal that you may have prostate cancer, you may need additional testing or procedures.

Testing for prostate cancer detection

If you need further testing due to prostate cancer symptoms, screening tests can reveal this.

  • Digital rectal examination: Your doctor feels your prostate gland with a finger that has been greased and gloved. A lump or hard spot could be cancer.
  • Blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA): The prostate gland produces a protein referred to as PSA. High PSA levels could be a sign of cancer. Additionally, if you have Benign prostate hyperplasia then also the levels of PA will increase.

Diagnosis Of Prostate Cancer

Not everyone with prostate cancer will require a certain diagnosis. For instance, if your tumour is believed to be slow-growing, your doctor may decide against performing additional tests because it isn't seen to be dangerous enough to warrant treatment. You could require more tests, including a biopsy if it's more aggressive (growing quickly or spreading).

  • Imaging: Your prostate gland can be seen on an MRI or transrectal ultrasound, along with any suspicious-looking regions that might represent cancer.
  • Biopsy: During a needle biopsy, a medical professional takes a sample of tissue to be examined for cancer in a laboratory. The only reliable approach to identify prostate cancer or determine its aggressiveness is through a biopsy. Your doctor might perform genetic testing on the biopsy tissue. Some cancer cells contain traits (such as mutations) that increase their propensity to respond to particular therapies.

What are the grades of prostate cancer?

To evaluate how bad the cancer is and the kinds of therapies you need, healthcare professionals utilise the Gleason score and cancer staging.

Gleason score

Your doctor can assess how abnormal your cancer cells are using the Gleason score. Your Gleason score rises as the number of aberrant cells increases. Your doctor can assess the Gleason score to evaluate the cancer's grade or propensity for aggressiveness.

Staging of Prostate Cancer

Your doctor can assess your cancer's stage by looking at how far it has spread. Cancer may simply affect your prostate gland (local), invade surrounding structures (regional), or spread to other organs (metastasize). Your bones are where prostate cancer most frequently metastasized.

Treatment Of Prostate Cancer

Your overall health, whether the cancer has spread, and how quickly it is spreading are just a few of the variables that will affect how you will be treated. Depending on your therapeutic options, you may work with urologists, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists. Most prostate cancers that are found at an early stage can be treated and recovered.

Specific Methods Employed


If your cancer grows slowly and doesn't spread, your doctor may choose to monitor your situation rather than treat you.

Active surveillance: To track the development of cancer, you have screenings, scans, and biopsies every one to three years. If the cancer is only in your prostate, is growing slowly, and isn't causing any symptoms, active surveillance is most effective. If the situation worsens, your doctor can start treating you.

Active surveillance is a similar strategy to watchful waiting, but it is more frequently utilised in cases of cancer in frailer patients who are unlikely to respond to treatment. Tests are also conducted significantly less frequently. Treatments frequently prioritise symptom management rather than tumour eradication.


The prostate gland is removed surgically during a radical prostatectomy. When prostate cancer hasn't spread, it frequently removes it successfully. If your healthcare professional thinks you will benefit from this operation, they can advise you on the optimal removal technique.

The prostate gland is removed during an open radical prostatectomy by your doctor through a single abdominal cut that extends from your belly button to your pubic bone. As opposed to less intrusive techniques like robotic prostatectomy, this approach is less popular.

Robotic radical prostatectomy: With a robotic radical prostatectomy, your surgeon can operate through a number of small incisions. They use a console to control a robot system rather than directly controlling it.

Radiation treatment

Radiation therapy is a treatment option for prostate cancer that can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. Additionally, radiation may help with symptoms.

  • Brachytherapy: Also known as internal radiation therapy, this process of treating cancer of the prostate includes implanting radioactive seeds there. This technique kills cancer cells while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue unharmed.
  • External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) involves the direct application of potent X-ray beams to the tumour by means of a machine. High doses of radiation can be directed at the tumour while still protecting healthy tissue with specialised EBRT techniques like IMRT.

Systemic Therapies

If the cancer has gone beyond your prostate gland, your doctor might advise systemic therapy. Systemic therapy circulates drugs throughout your body to kill cancer cells or stop them from proliferating.

  • Treatment with hormones: Testosterone encourages the growth of cancer cells. Hormone therapy uses medications to combat the role that testosterone plays in the growth of cancer cells. The medications work by lowering testosterone levels or by preventing testosterone from reaching cancer cells, which is how they do their jobs. Your doctor may suggest having your testicles surgically removed (orchiectomy) as an alternative to cease the production of testosterone. The procedure is an option for those who would rather not take medication.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the application of medications to the killing of cancer cells. If your cancer has spread outside your prostate, hormone therapy may be used in place of or in addition to chemotherapy.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy boosts your immune system's capacity to recognise and combat cancer cells. Immunotherapy may be suggested by your doctor to treat advanced cancer or recurrent cancer (cancer that disappears but then reappears).
  • Specific therapy: Targeted therapy focuses on the genetic alterations (mutations) that transform healthy cells into cancer cells in order to stop them from proliferating and spreading. Prostate cancer-targeted medicines eliminate cancer cells with BRCA gene abnormalities.

Focal therapy

  • Focal therapy is a more recent type of therapy that eliminates tumours inside your prostate. In the event that the cancer is low-risk and hasn't spread, your doctor might advise this course of action. Many of these therapies continue to be viewed as experimental.
  • High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU): Strong heat is produced by high-intensity sound waves to kill cancer cells in your prostate.
  • Cryotherapy: Freezing prostate cancer cells with cold gases destroys the tumour.
  • Laser Ablation: The tumour is removed using laser ablation, which uses high heat to eliminate the cancerous cells in your prostate.
  • Photodynamic therapy: Drugs that make cancer cells more sensitive to certain light wavelengths. In order to eradicate cancer cells, a medical practitioner uses certain light wavelengths.

Prevention Of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer risk can be decreased by:

  • It is advised to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. It is advisable to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables provide a variety of vitamins and other nutrients that are good for your health.
  • The link between nutrition and prostate cancer prevention has not been shown beyond a reasonable doubt. The general health of your body may be improved by eating a balanced diet that contains a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose healthy foods over supplements. There is no proof that taking supplements can reduce your risk of getting prostate cancer. To maintain optimum vitamin levels in your body, eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Try to exercise on the majority of your weekdays. You can maintain a healthy weight and improve your mood by exercising. Make an effort to work out most days of the week. If you've never exercised before, start out cautiously and gradually increase the amount of time you spend exercising each day.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Make an attempt to maintain your current weight by eating healthfully and exercising most days of the week if it is currently within a healthy range. If you want to lose weight, increase your daily activity and decrease your calorie intake. For help creating a strategy for secure weight loss, talk to your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor about the elevated risk of prostate cancer. Your doctor and you might talk about taking medications or undergoing other treatments to lessen your risk of developing prostate cancer if it is very high. Using 5-alpha reductase inhibitors like dutasteride (Avodart) and finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) may reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer overall, according to certain studies. These drugs are used to treat prostate gland enlargement and hair loss.

The usage of these medications, however, may increase the chance of high-grade prostate cancer, a more serious type of illness. Speak with your doctor if you're worried about your risk of acquiring prostate cancer.

Complications Of Prostate Cancer

Complications from prostate cancer treatments include the following:

  • Spread of cancer, or Metastasis. To your bones or other organs, as well as to nearby organs like your bladder, prostate cancer can spread through your lymphatic or circulatory systems. Prostate cancer that has metastasized to the bones may cause broken bones and agony. If prostate cancer has spread to other bodily regions, there is little chance that it will be cured, although it may still respond to therapy and be managed.
  • Incontinence. Both prostate cancer and its treatment can cause incontinence of the urinary stream. Your treatment will depend on your type of incontinence, its severity, and how likely it is that it will improve with time. The three possible treatment options are drugs, catheters, and surgery.
  • Erection problems. Prostate cancer and its treatments, including as surgery, radiation, and hormone therapies, can also cause erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction can be treated with medications, erection-assist vacuum devices, and surgery.

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