The prostate is one of the smallest glands in men, often compared to the walnut both in shape and size. It’s located below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
Prostate cancer’s growth varies from slow to fast growth. Slow growth cancers may not have adverse effects, such growth should however be monitored first before any form of treatment is administered. This is not the case for the fast growing cancer; it quickly spreads to other regions of the body
When there’s an excessive growth of cells in a body without control, these cells are referred to as cancerous. Almost any cell in the human body can be cancer cells, and when this happens, it spreads to other parts or areas of the body.
A majority of prostate cancer cases are adenocarcinomas. This type of cancer develops from the cells that produce the prostate fluid; these cells are referred to as the gland cells. Apart from adenocarcinomas, other types of prostate cancer are transitional cell carcinomas, sarcomas, neuroendocrine tumors, and small cell sarcomas. Hardly are individuals diagnosed with these types of cancer, as stated early adenocarcinomas is the most common type of prostate cancer.
Are you at Risk of Prostate Cancer?
It has been estimated by the American cancer society that in the United States alone that 164,690 cases of prostate cancer where reported, with 29,430 deaths from prostate cancer recorded for the year 2018. In the United Kingdom, prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in men. In the United States of America, this number goes down a bit to the second cause of cancer death in men. However, there has been survival cases reported. In the United States, statistics show that over 2.9 million men earlier diagnosed with prostate cancer get to live normal lives.
The symptoms of prostate cancer are hardly noticeable in the early period of this disease, but with the progression of the disease, the symptoms become noticeable and cause serious discomfort. Diagnosing for prostate cancer can be both difficult; this is largely due to the similarities of prostate cancer symptoms with other ailments.
It’s advisable that an individual shouldn’t hesitate to visit a doctor when experiencing any cancer symptom. In confirming a prostate cancer diagnosis, a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and a digital rectal exam is performed by physicians. An MRI, ultrasound or a biopsy may also be required.
Table of Contents
Below is a List of Five Symptoms of Prostate Cancer.
- Weakness or a feeling of numbness
- Blood in urine
- Urinary problems
- Erectile dysfunction
Urinary problem in prostate cancer is developed as a result of the location of the organ it affects. This symptom is initially caused by the enlargement of the prostate gland which obstructs the bladder function. However, this symptom is largely caused as a result of the damage to certain muscles and nerves that control urination.
1. URINARY PROBLEMS
Due to its location, prostate cancer also affects the reproductive system. Individuals with prostate cancer are known to experience urinary problems as a result of the condition itself or treatment.
Patients with prostate cancer experience leaking of bladder which escalates to the complete loss of bladder control, frequent urination and increase level of urinary urgency and feeling of pain when urinating.
The urethra is the tube carries urine from the bladder. It’s surrounded by the prostate gland. Cases of urinary hesitancy, weak urine stream or incomplete emptying happen in situations where the urethra is getting pressures from the prostate. Another cause of this may be damage to the sphincter and nerves by surgery.
There are treatments available for patients with prostate cancer. Examples of this treatment options are vaccine treatment, active surgery, cryotherapy, radiation therapy, bone directed treatment, etc.
2. ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
This symptom is experienced by patients with prostate cancer after treatment, lasting for the first few months just after their treatment.
This is simply due to the delicate nature of the nerves and blood vessels that are charged with the responsibility of controlling the physical part of having an erection, and any upset will result in changes.
Erectile dysfunction varies with individuals as an improvement is noticed, a year after treatment with about 50% of patients who have intact nerves. A return to normalcy is expected in two years 30-60% of these patients. Erectile dysfunction is one of the most dreaded symptoms of prostate cancer, as it affects the sexual life of the patient.
Medications for erectile dysfunction have the effect of relaxing the muscles of the male reproductive organ, making blood to quickly flow. Examples of such medication are vardenafil, sildenafil and tadalafil.
3. WEAKNESS AND NUMBNESS
When this is experienced it’s highly likely that the patient is in the 4th state of the disease because it has spread to the spinal cord. This has the effect of weakening the body frame.
There’s a loss of bowel and bladder control which is as a result of numbness and weakness in the feet or legs of a patient. This is related to the spread of the prostate cancer, as cancer cells quickly develop new tumors in bones of the body.
The spine is the position of bone metastasis in patients with cancer of the prostate. Other common spots are the sternum, humerus, pelvis, skull and ribs. A Prostate cancer and spinal cord compression study conducted reports that 6% of prostate cancer patients develop cervical epidural metastases and 27% develop symptomatic lumbar metastases.
An example of treatment to relieve this symptom is drugs targeted at bone metastases like zoledronic acid, denosumab, and radiopharmaceuticals like radium-223 and strontium-89.
4. BLOOD IN URINE
When the coloration of urine changes from the conventional pale yellow color to brownish-red, pink, tea-colored and red, this shouldn’t be ignored.
This should be reported to a doctor who may know which treatment to readjust. However blood in urine is not a disease but a symptom and therefore has no standard recommended treatment
Hematuria, also known as blood in urine can be as a result of damage to the kidneys, ureters, urethra or bladder. The presence of blood in urine can also be one of the side effects of radiation therapy.
5. PROSTATE PAIN
Pain is experienced in all the stages of prostate cancer and varies from patient to patient. This is one of the most feared prostate cancer symptoms. If this pain isn’t adequately controlled patients may experience difficulty in sleeping, reduced strength and difficulty in moving around. This pain also has psychological effects on patients such as depression, fear and anxiety.
Cancer growth in the prostate region causes blockage which results in the cancer patient feeling pain during ejaculation and urination. Secondly, organs and tissues are then pressured by the tumor and this causes severe pains too. This pain can also be felt in upper thigh area, pelvis and lower back.
Drugs used for managing this pain are dihydrocodeine, oxycodone, codeine, propoxyphene, hydrocodone for step 2. The drugs for step 3 are fentanyl, hydromorphone and morphine.
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