Prostate Cancer – Causes, Diagnosis and its Treatment
Prostate cancer is the cancer of the prostate gland, and also one of the most common types of cancer that are found in men. The prostate gland is a walnut sized gland found in men and is located in the pelvis, wrapped around the urethra, which is the tube responsible for carrying of urine out of the body. The prostate gland produces a fluid which makes for a part of semen (fluid which is responsible for reproduction and carries sperm produced by the testes).
The cause of prostate cancer is unclear. Doctors are not sure of what makes the prostate gland cells mutate and grow and divide rapidly. However, it is seen that bad diet contributes to the risk. The link between the two is not clear but by maintaining a balanced diet one can at least reduce the odds of developing the cancer.
One way a person can reduce the chances of getting diagnosed with prostate cancer if by choosing a healthy diet which is rich in vitamins and nutrients, and low on carbs and fats.
Low-Fat Diet- A study was conducted on men who consumed a very high quantity of fat every day and it was found that these men were at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. While this doesn’t necessarily prove that diet high in fat directly contributes to the increased chances of prostate cancer, such a diet will still help in avoiding other serious heart related problems such as diabetes, etc.
Low Intake of Dairy Products- It has been found that those men who eat small amounts of dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt, etc.) on a regular basis are less likely to develop prostate cancer. While the results reported were mixed, making the validity of the relation blurry, reducing dairy product intake won’t do any harm nonetheless.
Fruits and Vegetables- Fruits and vegetables are full of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. And while increased intake of these has not been officially believed to minimize the possibility of prostate cancer development, the consumption of the same can reduce the room for harmful fatty foods at least.
Some of the most prevalent risk factors pertaining to the development of prostate cancer include-
- Family History- Development of prostate cancer is highly dependent on the fact whether one has a family history of the condition. A person whose brother or father has prostate cancer if two times more likely to develop it too. Also, more are the males in a family who have prostate cancer more are the chances of other males to developing it as well.
- Age- Over 60% of prostate cancer cases are found in the men aged 65 or more. Those males who are less than 40 years old are least likely to develop it.
- Genetic Factors- Genetic changes can also alter the chances of one developing prostate cancer. Mutations in the BRCA2 gene found in the DNDA can increase the odds of a male getting diagnosed with prostate cancer. Similar mutation, if found in the female members of a family can increase their chance of developing ovarian cancer or breast cancer..
- Diet and Other Diseases- Several reports have been produced that point to the higher risk of developing prostate cancer in people who consume foods high in fats and red meats. Obesity is also directly linked to the increase in the probability of prostate cancer development.
Treatment for Prostate Cancer
A doctor chooses a certain treatment for prostate cancer considering several factors including the growth rate of the cancer cells, its severity, and the potential side effects of the treatment itself. Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer in its early stages may not need a treatment right away. In fact, many times the victims may not need a treatment at all, and the doctor merely recommends active surveillance.
In case a treatment is necessary then the doctor may choose any of these-
In this treatment powerful radiation is used to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy can be of two types-
- a) Radiation that comes from the outside- In this the patient lays on a table while a machine moves around the body directing powerful radiation beams on the prostate cancer cells.
- b) Radiation placed inside the body- Commonly known as brachytherapy this treatment involves the placement of several radioactive seeds of the size of rice grains inside the prostate tissue.
In hormone therapy the production of testosterone is stopped. Because prostate cancer cells need the hormone to grow, cutting off the supply eventually leads to their death.
When other treatments fail or when the condition is more serious then the doctor may recommend surgical removal of the prostate.
Other common treatments include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, etc.