Prostate cancer – who is at risk?
Prostate cancer claims the lives of about 3300 Australian men every year* (*Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia)
Recent studies have shown that cancer has a fractal developing pattern. Like many other forms of cancer, it can easily spread to other organs. However, its spreading is slower than in other organs and, if it’s found in the early stages, it has a slower growth.
Prostate cancer develops when abnormal cells start to grow in the gland’s tissues. Their Brownian movement and multiplication usually lead to affectation of other organs.
Anatomically, the prostate is a tiny gland found below the urinary bladder, in front of the rectum, in the male organism. This gland surrounds the urethra, where the seminal liquid and urine flow and its size is the equivalent of a walnut.
Being a component of the masculine reproductive system, its function is to produce a liquid that enriches the sperm.
Because of prostate’s continuous growth, older men can find a difficulty in urinating, a problem that is not always associated with cancer.
Who is at risk of developing prostate cancer?
Many factors, external and internal, can lead to a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. In the early stages, symptoms might be absent. In the more advanced stages, men start having difficulties urinating, pain issues and discovering blood in semen or urine. The following factors that influence the development of prostate cancer are the most crucial:
Being an age-dependent illness, the prostate cancer tends to appear with the years.
Studies have shown that 1 in 7 men over 75 suffers from this, while 1 in 5 men over 85 does.
Recent studies have shown that cancer is a matter of genetic bad luck.
Prostate cancer is not written in the DNA, but one can inherit the genes that have a higher developing risk.
Genetically speaking, again, prostate cancer risk can be inherited either if one of your first degree relatives has the disease or one of your relatives discovered it at a young age.
High-fat food, like processed meat, can increase the risk.
A stressful environment and lifestyle can also increase risks.
A higher level of testosterone can have an important influence in many medical conditions for men.
The negative impact of being over-weight reflects poorly in many health issues.
How can it be detected?
There is a specific blood test that indicates if a specific protein has a higher level. This test is called PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen). However, an increase in that protein’s level does not necessarily mean cancer, because other diseases can indicate the same increase.
Another way to determine if something abnormal develops is DRE (Digital Rectal Examination). To examine the prostate’s dimensions and shape, the doctor uses a lubricated glove, inserts his finger into the patient’s rectum and checks for abnormalities. However, even if everything seems normal, there are still other examinations to be done.
A biopsy is the clearest way to determine whether you have prostate cancer or not. Through this procedure, a tiny piece of glandular tissue is being cut and sent to further investigations.
Reducing the risks
Even though there are not enough studies that show the effectiveness of prevention methods, they shouldn’t be disregarded. A healthy diet improve the functions of the organism, while physical activities done for at least 30 minutes per day can be a protective factor against cancer.
Men over 50 and men over 40 with a family history should ask their doctor to have the PSA test as part of their regular health check-up.
The actions taken to manage prostate cancer when already diagnosed can be guided by a GP through a GP Management Plan for Chronic Diseases.