What is the prostate?
The prostate is a gland that belongs to the male reproductive system, it is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that carries urine out from the bladder). The prostate gland produces a fluid that is part of semen.
Usually as men age, the prostate can enlarge and block the urethra or bladder. This can cause difficulty urinating or interfere with sexual function. This problem is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, which often requires surgery to correct it. Symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia or other problems that affect the gland can be similar to cancer symptoms.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is marked by an uncontrolled (malignant) growth of cells in the prostate gland. This is the most common tumor in men and the second leading cause of cancer mortality in men. Its occurrence increases with age. Prostate Cancer is a s=disease that develops mainly in older men, mostly over 65 years of age.
What are the Risk Factors?
Age: Age is the main risk factor for prostate cancer.
The risk of developing prostate cancer begins to increase from the age of 50 in white men and from the age of 40 in men who are black or have a family history of prostate cancer. The mean age of presentation is 65 years.
Race: Prostate cancer is more common in black men than in men of other races.
Additionally, black men are more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, and are more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer compared to white men.
Family history: Prostate cancer has an important genetic component. If a parent or sibling has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there is a higher probability of developing the illness and often times at a younger age (under 55).
Infection and inflammation of the prostate: Some studies have suggested that prostatitis may be associated with a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, but the research on this is currently inconclusive.
What are the symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
In early stages the tumor is limited to the prostate, it may be asymptomatic or accompanied by mild obstructive symptoms attributable to benign hyperplasia:
- Decreased caliber or interruption of the stream of urine.
- Increased frequency of urination, especially nocturnal.
- Difficulty urinating or burning during urination.
When the tumors are locally advanced, they are accompanied by clear obstructive symptoms, in addition there may be:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria) or
- Signs of infection.
When it comes to advanced tumors:
- Edema or swelling of the legs may appear (due to the growth of regional lymph nodes)
- Bone pain (due to tumor extension to the bone)
- Weakness or loss of strength in the legs (compression of the spinal cord).
What are the Diagnostic methods?
- Rectal examination
- Determination of PSA blood levels
What are the normal PSA levels in blood?
Total PSA is always abnormal above 10 ng / ml.
- 40-49 years: normal PSA <2.5 ng / ml.
- 50-59 years: normal PSA <3.5 ng / ml.
- 60-69 years: normal PSA <4.5 ng / ml.
- 70-79 years: normal PSA <6.5 ng / ml.
Patients with PSA <10 ng / ml have a 70-80% probability that the disease is localized, if the PSA levels range between 10-50 ng / ml 50% will be localized, if the PSA is> 50 ng / ml only 25% will be located.
If you are 50 or over and at average risk, 45 or over with high risk factors (of African descent or with a first-degree relative – father or brother – diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age – younger than age 65), or over 40 and at even higher risk (with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age) have a chat with your doctor to find out what’s right for you.
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