Prostate Cancer

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If the cancer is caught at its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms. Some men, however, will experience symptoms that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer, including:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night;
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine;
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine;
  • Painful or burning urination;
  • Difficulty in having an erection;
  • Painful ejaculation;
  • Blood in urine or semen; or
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.

Epidemiology

Prostate cancer is uncommon in men younger than 45 years of age, but becomes more common with advancing age. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 70 years. However, may men never know they have prostate cancer. According to autopsy studies done on Chinese, German, Israeli, Jamaican, Swedish and Ugandan men who died of other causes, it was found that 30% of men in their 50's and 80% of men in their 70's had prostate cancer. According to studies done in the United States in 2005, there was an estimated 230 000 new cases and 30 000 deaths due to prostate cancer.

Causes

The specific causes of prostate cancer remain unknown. A man's risk of developing prostate cancer is related to his age, genetics, race, diet, lifestyle, medications and other factors. The primary risk factor is age.

Treatment

  • Closely monitoring of client's condition without any treatment until symptoms appear or change. This is used in older men with other medical problems and early stage cancer.
  • Clients in good health are usually offered surgery as treatment for the prostate cancer. Different types of surgery are available.
  • Radiation therapy is a form treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other type of radiation to kill cancer cells and prevent cancer cells from growing. Males may experience impotence and urinary problems due to radiation therapy. There are two types of radiation therapy:
    • External radiation: use of a machine outside the body to send radiation towards the cancer.
    • Internal radiation: use of radioactive substances that are placed directly into or near the cancer site.
    • Hormone therapy: removal of hormones or blocking their action to stop cancer cells from growing.

New types of treatment are being tested in clinical trials.

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