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Many of these symptoms can coincide or present like other non-cancer conditions. It’s best to have your doctor perform a physical exam or blood tests to rule out other contributing factors too. (Source)
Prostate cancer has no early symptoms. By the time you have symptoms, if it’s indeed cancer, it could’ve already spread to other parts of your body.
Some men might not have actual symptoms until years after their initial diagnosis too. This is why screenings can be important since it allows doctors and you more freedom in how to treat your cancer.
For some, you’ll choose a wait and see approach while others will require immediate treatment. It largely depends on your age and the aggressiveness of present cancer.
Doctors at the American Cancer Society recommend screenings, which helps identify prostate cancer in its earliest stage.
Prostate cancer occurs on the gland when malignant cells form a tumor (Source). You can also have a non-malignant tumor, so the presence of abnormal cells doesn’t always lead to or mean you have cancer.
Doctors categorize cancer into two major types: aggressive and nonaggressive. Each type relates to how the tumor grows. Aggressive cancer, for example, multiplies rapidly and spreads to other areas of the body. Nonaggressive prostate cancer either doesn’t grow or does so slowly.
Noncancerous growths might not require treatment. However, your doctor and you should weigh the risks of removing it since these types of growths could develop into cancer or increase your risks.
There are two common types of radiation therapy that are used for treating prostate cancer. The first type is called external-beam radiation therapy. It is done by focusing a concentrated beam of x-rays over the affected area. To ensure that a man receives an even dose of radiation, special netting is often placed over the body to hold it in a specific position. The netting is then marked so that the person can’t move out of place. External-beam radiation therapy may be done in low doses over a longer period of time or in high doses over a shorter period of time. It just depends on how advanced the cancer is and whether or not it has spread.
Brachytherapy is the second type of radiation therapy. It is done internally by inserting special radioactive seeds directly into the prostate. Low-dose radioactive seeds may need to be left in place permanently because they can take up to a year to be effective. High-dose seeds may be removed after just 30 minutes because if they are left in the body any longer than this, they could cause a person to develop other types of cancer from the intense radiation exposure.
A man’s hormone level can have an influence on his prostate cancer too. So it is sometimes necessary for an oncologist to reduce the amount of hormones that he has in his body in order for the cancer to be treated. This is done with a special medication called androgen deprivation therapy. Since it can have serious consequences on a man’s emotional and physical health, it is often used only if the prostate cancer has reached stage three or stage four. Even then, many doctors consider it too controversial because it is only effective if it is used for two or three years. And depriving a man of androgens for this long essentially feminizes his body unnecessarily.
If other treatment options have failed, doctors may need to perform a radical prostatectomy to surgically remove the seminal vesicles and prostate. This is no easy task because the prostate is positioned in a delicate region underneath the bladder and directly behind the penis. So it takes roughly five incisions into the abdomen to perform the surgery. Afterwards, a man may develop incontinence or have difficulty maintaining an erection because of the nerve damage that it does to the body. Having an orgasm may still be possible, but it will be more difficult than it was before the surgery. Because of this, a laparoscopic prostatectomy is more preferable because it is less invasive since it makes use of robotic instruments that are inserted into just one small incision in the abdomen.
It is also important to mention that doctors often use a combination of the above-mentioned treatment options for prostate cancer. For example, after a prostatectomy is performed, a man may need to undergo radiation therapy to ensure that all of the cancer cells are destroyed. Hormone therapy is often used with surgery too, especially in stage four prostate cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes.
These are just some of the treatment options that are available for prostate cancer. There are many others that medical researchers are currently working on. So if you or someone that you know could be having any of the signs of this condition, be sure to talk to your doctor about which of them is right for you.
This article has not been paid for by any advertiser. This content is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice or analysis.