Prostate cancer – Part I

What is prostate ?

Prostate is a lemon sized reproductive gland, found only in men, below the bladder. Its function is to produce fluid which helps providing nourishment to sperms in semen. Urinary passage goes through prostate, before reaching the penis.

What all diseases can occur in prostate ?

BPH (BPH (Enlarged prostate) Symptoms), Prostatitis (Infection in prostate), Prostate cancer (Prostate cancer)are the most common diseases that originate from prostate.

What is prostate cancer ?

Like rest of the body cancers, prostate can harbour cancer in it. Malignant growth inside the prostate is called prostate cancer. Most of the prostate cancers are slow growing.

What are the risk factors for prostate cancer ?

Older age, African – American race, family history of ovarian/breast and prostate cancer increases the likelihood of a man being diagnosed with prostate cancer. As men increase in age, the risk of prostate cancer increases. About 60% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65 years. Besides these, diet high in animal fat has been associated with risk of developing prostate cancer.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer ?

Prostate cancer can be asymptomatic; meaning there can be no symptoms of cancer. If it does causes symptoms, these can be urinary symptoms or more generalised symptoms, depending upon the stage of prostate cancer. Most common symptoms include- urinary symptoms such as frequency or weak urinary stream, blood in urine (hematuria), erectile dysfunction (ED), Hematospermia (Blood in semen), urinary and bowel incontinence, pain in hips/back/legs etc.

Can we detect prostate cancer in patient who does not have symptoms ?

Prostate cancer can be easily screened with combination of Digital rectal examination (DRE), conducted by doctor and blood test called PSA (Prostate specific antigen). (Prostate cancer and PSA testing). These tests are recommended annually in men over 50 years of age. Combination of these tests can diagnose prostate cancer in men, in whom there are no symptoms of this disease.

What is PSA test ?

The PSA is a blood test which is commonly used to detect possible prostate cancer in a person. Elevated PSA levels may indicate the presence of prostate cancer, but it can be also elevated in certain conditions of prostate such as BPH, prostate infections (prostatitis), UTI (Urinary tract infection), retention urine etc.

If initial tests shows risk of prostate cancer, what happens next ?

The final diagnosis of prostate cancer is made after prostate biopsy done most commonly by ultrasound guidance called TRUS (Trans rectal Ultrasound). Sometimes doctor orders MRI called mpMRI (multiparametric MRI) prostate before undertaking biopsy. Once biopsy shows evidence of prostate cancer, the cancer is staged to look for the extent of cancer spread into the body. This is done by combination of various modalities such as CT scan, MRI , Bone scan and more recently PSMA PET scan.

Published by Dr Varinder Attri

MS MCh (PGI Chandigarh), Urologist and Andrologist

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: