What men need to know about prostate cancer
Identify the risk factors and take steps to neutralise them
What is the prostate gland?
The prostate gland is a small male reproductive organ in men, located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The urethra (the tube carrying urine from the bladder) runs through the middle of the prostate to the penis, letting urine flow out of your body.
One of the main roles of the prostate is to produce the fluid that protects sperm. The muscles of the prostate also help to project seminal fluid into the urethra during ejaculation.
One component of prostate fluid, an enzyme called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), aids in the success of sperm by liquefying semen that has thickened after ejaculation. This thinning action allows sperm to swim more freely. The prostate gland also filters and removes toxins that may surround sperm making sure that quality sperm is produced.
What is prostate cancer?
The cells in our body each have a specific role to play. Normal cells divide in an orderly way and die when they are worn out, or damaged, and new cells take their place. Cancer occurs when the cells start to grow in an uncontrolled manner. These cells continue growing and manufacturing new cells just like themselves and grow into a lump, or tumour.
There are two types of tumours: noncancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant). Benign tumours don’t generally spread to other parts of the body and are not usually life-threatening. Cancerous tumours can attack nearby cells and destroy them.
Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells start to grow in the prostate. These cells grow more quickly than normal ones in the uncontrolled way described above – becoming what’s known as ‘rogue’ cells. During this process, they crowd out normal, healthy cells.
Almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas. These cancers develop from the gland cells (the cells that make the prostate fluid that is added to the semen). Other types of prostate cancer include sarcomas, small cell carcinoma, neuroendocrine tumors and transitional cell carcinomas, but these are less common.
Who is affected by prostate cancer?
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, men who develop prostate cancer are mostly over the age of 65. It rarely occurs in men younger than 55. About one in 13 men will develop prostate cancer before the age of 75. In very elderly men, prostate cancer often grows very slowly and may cause no symptoms.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers found in men, alongside skin cancer. If found early enough, it is often treatable.
4 main risk factors for prostate cancer
- Age. The biggest risk factor for prostate cancer is age. It is usually found in men over the age of 55, and the risks of contracting prostate cancer increase the older a man becomes. It fairly rarely affects men under the age of 55 and older men may be unaware they have prostate cancer because it can be slow growing.
- Genetics and family history. Certain genetic and ethnic groups have an increased risk of prostate cancer. If you have a father or brother who has suffered from prostate cancer, your risk factor of contracting prostate cancer is higher.
- Location. Prostate cancer occurs most frequently in North America, northwestern Europe, on the Caribbean islands and in Australia. The reasons behind this aren’t clear.
- Diet. Studies suggest a diet that is high in red meat or high-fat dairy foods may increase a person’s chances of developing prostate cancer. However, this link is neither confirmed nor clear.
7 early signs of prostate cancer
Usually, prostate cancer symptoms do not appear in the early stages of the disease. The symptoms may differ for each affected man and each of them may be caused by other conditions. Because the urethra passes through the middle of the prostate gland, prostate cancer may first be evidenced by a variety of urinary difficulties including:
- Pain or burning during urination.
- A weak urine stream, or a stream that stops and starts.
- Increased frequency of urination at night.
- Loss of bladder control.
- Decreased urinary flow.
- Blood in the urine.
- Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.
9 symptoms of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer may spread (metastasise) to nearby tissues or bones. If the cancer spreads to the spine, it may press on the spinal nerves. Other prostate cancer symptoms include:
- Blood in the semen.
- Difficulty getting an erection (erectile dysfunction).
- Painful ejaculation.
- Swelling in legs or pelvic area.
- Numbness or pain in the hips, legs or feet.
- Bone pain that doesn't go away, especially the lower back.
- Low impact bone fractures.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Fatigue, or shortness of breath while doing activities previously well tolerated.
What are the causes of prostate cancer?
Just like other types of cancer, prostate cancer may have multiple causes. Most experts agree, however, that mutations in your genetic material play a significant role, leading to the growth of cancerous cells. These mutations can cause cells within the prostate to start growing in an uncontrolled and abnormal way.
These cells keep on growing and dividing until a tumour develops. The growth of cancer cells in the prostate can be stimulated by male hormones, especially testosterone.
With an aggressive prostate cancer, these cells may leave the original tumour site and spread to other parts of your body.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
In addition to a physical examination, many prostate cancers are first identified during screening with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test or a digital rectal exam (DRE). These are the two initial tests for prostate cancer and PSA testing combined with DRE can help identify prostate cancers at their earliest stages.
Once you have been examined by your doctor and if cancer is suspected, he or she may suggest a blood test and refer you to a specialist urologist. The urologist, in turn, may suggest that you have a biopsy of the prostate. This prostate biopsy is often done using a thin needle that's inserted into the prostate to collect tissue. A pathologist then looks at the sample of prostate tissue under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells.
Results are usually available within 10 days and if the test finds prostate cancer cells, a grade (Gleason score) will be given. The Gleason score is a tool for predicting how fast growing the cancer is. Your doctor will discuss your score with you and the implications.
What are the stages of prostate cancer?
All cancers are ‘staged’. The term ‘stage’ is used to describe the size of the cancer and whether it is contained within the prostate gland, or if it has spread beyond.
If cancer is found only in the prostate gland, this is called localised, or early, prostate cancer. For the majority of men, prostate cancer grows slowly and is not aggressive. In others, this type of cancer grows more quickly and spreads to other parts of the body. This is called advanced prostate cancer.
What is the prognosis for prostate cancer?
Generally speaking, prostate cancer has a high rate of survivability if diagnosed early and is regarded as having one of the highest survival rates of all types of cancer. Because it is usually very slow moving, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer will often pass away from other, unrelated, causes.
How is prostate cancer treated?
Treatment is different for early and advanced prostate cancers.
- Early stage prostate cancer
If the cancer is small and localised, it is usually managed by one of the following treatments:
- Watchful waiting or monitoring. PSA blood levels are regularly checked, but there is no immediate action. The risk of side effects sometimes outweighs the need for immediate treatment for this slow-developing cancer.
- Radical prostatectomy. The prostate is surgically removed. Traditional surgery requires a hospital stay of up to 10 days, with a recovery time of up to three months. Robotic keyhole surgery involves a shorter hospitalisation and recovery period, but it can be more expensive.
- Radioactive ‘seeds’ are implanted into the prostate to deliver targeted radiation treatment.
- Conformal radiation therapy. Radiation beams are shaped so that the region where they overlap is as close to the same shape as the organ or region that requires treatment. This minimises healthy tissue exposure to radiation.
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy. Beams with variable intensity are used. This is an advanced form of conformal radiation therapy.
In the early stages, patients may receive radiation therapy combined with hormone therapy for four to six months. Treatment recommendations depend on individual cases. The patient should discuss all available options with their urologist or oncologist.
- Advanced prostate cancer
Advanced cancer is more aggressive and will have spread further throughout the body.
- Chemotherapy may be recommended, as it can kill cancer cells around the body.
- Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) (androgen suppression therapy), is a hormone treatment that reduces the effect of androgens. Androgens are male hormones that can stimulate cancer growth. ADT can slow down and even stop cancer growth by reducing androgen levels.
5 things you can do at home to improve prostate health
It is generally agreed there are a number of ways to improve the health of your prostate gland:
- Eat a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables (particularly tomatoes).
- Avoid alcohol (or keep consumption to a low level).
- Avoid smoking.
- Ensure that you exercise; walking 10,000 steps daily is a reasonably achievable goal.
- Take a natural herbal supplement such as Prostate PowerFlow.
How Prostate PowerFlow helps support prostate health
When taken daily, Prostate PowerFlow’s formulation works to support prostate health. It contains the following four key active ingredients:
- Saw Palmetto. Saw Palmetto is commonly used in Europe and the U.S as a treatment for an enlarged prostate. Some studies have shown Saw Palmetto might help with BPH symptoms in several ways. These include:
- You may need to get up less often at night to urinate.
- It can improve your flow when you go.
- It can ease painful urination.
- Lycopene. Tomato-derived lycopene supports a healthy prostate and has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers. It can help stop the enlargement of the prostate and prevent this condition from progressing to prostate cancer.
- Selenium. Selenium provides antioxidant protection. Prostate PowerFlow provides up to 50 percent of the Selenium RDA to support men’s prostate health in New Zealand (RDA varies in different countries).
- Zinc is necessary for the manufacture of testosterone, which is the key male hormone for potency and fertility and supports a healthy prostate gland.
Good prostate health is a key for men coping with the inevitable hormonal changes that accompany aging. Prostate PowerFlow with Saw Palmetto, Zinc, Lycopene and Selenium may help alleviate the natural side effects of growing older.
To support your prostate health, it is suggested that you take two capsules of PowerFlow daily; one in the morning and one in the evening with food.
Prostate PowerFlow is natural and free of unpleasant side effects. It is made in New Zealand to the highest standards, with thorough testing and guarantees of no adulteration or undeclared ingredients.
Get Prostate PowerFlow Special: Buy two bottles & get one more bottle FREEDisclaimer. This information is provided for general informational purposes only and does not substitute for the advice provided by your medical professional. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.