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What is prostate cancer?

One of the most common types of cancers among men, prostate cancer refers to the uncontrolled growth of cells in the small gland of the reproductive system called prostate.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Prostate cancer may not show any signs or symptoms till advanced stages are reached.  In some cases, certain signs are considered as indications of underlying cancer. These signs and symptoms are:

  • Pain while urinating or a burning sensation.
  • Difficutly in getting an erection.
  • Passing of blood in urine or in semen.
  • Pain in the rectum or in areas of the pelvis, thighs, or hips.
  • Dribbling of urine.
  • Difficulty in initiating a stream of urine.

What are the main causes?

The main cause resulting in prostate cancer is not clear but there are many common factors which indicate the causative mechanism of cancer of the prostate. Mutation in the DNA leads to an uncontrolled growth of cells in the prostate resulting in this condition.

One important factor is the imbalance between oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes. Oncogenes are responsible for the growth of cancerous cells in the body and the tumour suppressor genes slow down the growth or result in the death of the cancerous cells at the right time to prevent any tumorous growth.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The most definitive and sure test for the presence of a prostate cancer is a biopsy performed by a urologist.

Other tests include a digital rectal exam (DRE) test and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. However, they do not confirm cancer in the prostate, as the growth may also be a result of other infections or non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate.

Treatment for prostate cancer is mostly successful. Some of the medications and treatments offered are:

  • Radiation therapy – The doctors direct radiations like gamma rays to the cancerous cells.
  • Surgery – An attempt is made to surgically remove the tumor at early stages in conditions where the tumor hasn’t spread and is small.
  • Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is helpful for the treatment of cancer in advanced cases where it has spread.
  • Medications – Certain medications can also be administered to curb the growth of the cancerous cells.
  1. Medicines for Prostate Cancer
  2. Doctors for Prostate Cancer
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Dr. Ashok Vaid

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  1. Prostate Cancer Foundation, Santa Monica [Internet]; About Prostate Cancer
  2. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Prostate cancer.
  3. Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia [Internet]; What you need to know about prostate cancer
  4. National Cancer Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Prostate Cancer—Patient Version
  5. National Cancer Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Treatment Choices for Men With Early-Stage Prostate Cancer
  6. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Prostate Cancer
  7. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Prostate Cancer

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