Prostate cancer is among the most common cancers in men. In some types of cancer in the prostate gland, the disease grows slowly and may not cause harm, requiring little or no treatment. There are prostate cancers, however, that can become aggressive and grow quickly, according to the Mayo Clinic
When the cancer is detected early, there is a better chance for successful treatment, especially when the cancer is confined to the prostate gland. However, prostate cancer may have no signs or symptoms in its early stages.
The prostate gland plays an essential role in a man’s reproductive system, producing seminal fluid for sperm production. Doctors believe prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate become abnormal, the Mayo Clinic noted. Age can play a role in the development of the cancer. Family history of prostate or breast cancer and obesity are also risks. African American men have a higher risk of the cancer than men of other races.
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Men in the high-risk categories are recommended to begin prostate screenings with a doctor at age 40. Men in general are advised to undergo annual rectal examinations and prostatic specific antigen, or PSA, testing, WebMD reported
. Regular screening is important because early stages of the disease may not show symptoms.
Some urinary symptoms may occur because the prostate gland is close to the bladder and urethra, causing pressure in the area. Difficulty urinating, frequent urges to urinate at night, decreased flow of urine, burning or pain during urination, and blood in the urine are among the signs, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Prostate cancer might also affect sexual function. There may be erectile dysfunction, blood in the semen or painful ejaculations. Other symptoms include bone pain that won’t go away, swelling in the legs or pelvic area, and numbness or pain in the hips, legs or feet.
Advanced technology in surgical and nonsurgical procedures has provided doctors and patients with a wide variety of choices for prostate cancer. Robotic and laparoscopic surgery, in which a tiny video camera is used, have made prostate cancer surgery less painful with less scarring. Recovery time is also quicker. The newer operations allow surgeons to operate with improved precision, UCLA Urology noted
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Nonsurgical procedures include implanting radioactive pellets into the prostate gland with the help of ultrasound. There have also been advances in radiotherapy which makes radiation treatments easier through computer and imaging technology.
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