The prostate is a small gland about the size of a table-tennis ball. It is a part of the male reproductive system and is located between the base of the penis and the anus. Women don’t have a prostate. The prostate gets bigger as men get older.
Prostate cancer is a cancer which develops within the prostate. It usually occurs in men over the age of 60 years and it is one of the most common cancers affecting men.
The prostate normally grows larger as men grow older, however some men do develop cancer of the prostate which is an abnormal growth of the cells of the prostate and like other cancers it has the potential of spreading to other parts of the body.
What causes prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer has no specific cause but it tends to occur as men grow older. Also there is an increased risk of developing prostate cancer if you have a family member who had prostate cancer.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
The symptoms of prostate cancer are very similar to that of prostate enlargement and they include:
- Poor flow of urine: This means you often have to strain before you are able to get your urine to flow. Occasionally, you may have to wait for some time before the urine starts to flow and as it flows you may also experience some pauses during urination.
You may also notice that the stream of your urine is weaker than normal and towards the end, it it dribbles.
2. Increased frequency: You will notice you are beginning to have to urge to go the toilet to pass urine more frequently than usual. This can also happen at night. Another frustrating symptom people feel is the urge to go suddenly and not being able to hold it.
3. Blood in the urine: There is a possibility of finding blood in the urine with your eyes or when tested in the lab.
4. Pain: It is also possible to experience pain at the base of the penis or at the back
What should I do if I feel this symptoms?
As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of prostate cancer and prostate enlargement are similar so it is important to see a doctor early on, in order to have a proper examination and tests.
Your doctor would usually also test your blood and urine. If prostate cancer is suspected you will be referred to a urologist.
How is prostate cancer treated?
After carrying out series of tests to diagnose and to know the extent of the cancer, the urologist will discuss different options for treatment which could include surgery, radiation treatment, or medicines.
What could happen if prostate cancer is not treated?
As with other cancers, there is a possibility of spread to other parts of the body. It can also result in damage to the kidneys as well due to pressure.