What is prostate cancer?
Simply put, prostate cancer is a disease that is found in the male prostate, which develops slowly in the body. Unfortunately, prostate cancer doesn’t initially show any symptoms until it is at an advanced stage. That means that without proper testing, there isn’t a simple way of knowing if you’re affected by this deadly disease.
Any type of cancer means that cells in the body start to grow rapidly and out of control. The scary part is that cells in almost any part of your body can become cancer cells. But they’re not limited to that specific area – remember, they grow out of control. This means that they tend to spread to nearby areas.
Prostate cancer begins in the prostate, which is an organ only found in men. It’s responsible for making some of the semen fluid. In terms of size, the prostate is a small organ roughly the size of a walnut. Position wise, it’s in front of the rectum and below the bladder.
There are multiple types of prostate cancer – sarcomas, small cell carcinomas, transitional cell carcinomas and neuroendocrine tumors. But the most common is adenocarcinoma – basically, almost all of them are this type. They develop from the gland cells.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
It’s important for men to know the symptoms of prostate cancer since they might be affected without knowing it. It’s crucial for men of all ages – young and old – to know this information.
Since the prostate gland is near the urethra and bladder, prostate cancer appears together with urinary symptoms. Cancers are tumors, these can press on the urethra so they inhibit the urine flow. Be on the lookout for these symptoms, in relation to prostate cancer:
- Loss of bladder control
- Blood in your urine (even if just a few drops)
- Frequent urges to urinate at night (without relation to age)
- Burning or slight pain or stings during the urinating process
But it’s not just urine that can be affected by the symptoms of prostate cancer. It can metastasize – spread – to surrounding tissues and even bones. That translates to the fact that other prostate cancer symptoms can include:
- Painful ejaculation
- Swelling in your legs or pelvic area
- Erectile dysfunction
- Blood in your semen
Symptoms of prostate cancer are not visible in the early stages. Also, they differ from man to man. Furthermore, any of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions. So regular screenings are crucial in catching the disease early.
Beginning with age 50 men should consult their physician routine screenings. The American Cancer Society even recommends starting these screenings earlier.
What is the main cause of prostate cancer?
Even after research done along the years, prostate cancer causes aren’t clear. But there is enough evidence brought forth by the medical and research communities to show that a few factor increase your risk of developing prostate cancer: Exercise (men without regular exercise have an increased risk of prostate cancer), Diet (a diet high in calcium is linked to increased risk towards this disease), Ethnicity (African-Caribbean and African men have more instances of prostate cancer and the Asian men), Age (the older you are, the more risk there is you’ll get prostate cancer).
Age is a huge factor, most prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years of age.
How can you prevent prostate cancer?
There are prostate cancer factor one cannot control – age, race and family history. Since those are set, you should set your sights on the things YOU can control, in order to have a good chance to prevent prostate cancer.
Diet and body weight go hand in hand. So eating right, consuming a wide variety of vegetables and fruits each day helps you stay at a healthy weight. Combine that with being physically active and you’ve got a great foundation for your health.
Certain vitamins and minerals have been linked to positive effects regarding prostate cancer prevention. While it was thought in some studies that vitamin E or selenium helped lower prostate cancer risks, further studies did not show those benefits. Soy proteins – isoflavones – are being researched, but there is no result available yet.
Because supplements bring both benefits and risks, it’s best to discuss any supplement plan with your doctor before starting it.
Early detection and screening of prostate cancer
Screening for prostate cancer is not impossible, but most people don’t do it. Since it’s seen as mostly a disease for old people, teens and adults aren’t that concerned about it, even though they should be.
Testing your PSA level is essential. It stands for Prostate-Specific Antigen. It’s a simple blood test that yields great results and informs you if there is a prostate cancer risk.
DRE – Digital Rectal Exam – means the doctor puts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum, in order to feel the shape and size of the prostate gland.
Making a decision to get screened for prostate cancer should be made based on information that’s available online from credible sources, discussions with their doctors and their own views regarding the benefits of prostate cancer screening.
Prostate cancer risks/side effects
The prostate is a small organ, near the rectum and the bladder. For this reason, prostate cancer, in advanced stages, and treatments for it can lead to impotence. That is – the inability to achieve or maintain a healthy erection. Drugs used to fight cancer cells can lead to low testosterone levels.
Another side effect/risk is incontinence – the inability to control the flow of your urine. There are certain exercises that help men regain their urinary control – Kegel exercises. Medications can also help in this situation – ask your doctor about these options..
The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is your bones. This weakens the bones and, as you can assume, makes them prone to fractures. It can cause pain without treatments from doctors.
Prostate cancer treatment, what options do you have?
First and foremost, there is robotic surgery. This makes sure to remove the entire prostate and, with it, the whole risk of prostate cancer. It’s the first and best line of defense in terms of treatment for prostate cancer.
CyberKnife is another well-known form of treatment. It’s not surgery, but radiation treatment. The PSA score after CyberKnife is not 0, unlike robotic surgery. Further more, there’s the risk of radiation which can affect other organs.
Depending on your condition, other treatments include:
- Watchful waiting
- Hormone therapy
- Bone-directed treatment
How can David Samadi help you with your prostate problems?
Dr. David B. Samadi is a world-class laparoscopic surgeon and a board certified urologic oncologist. He’s the Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He’s developed his own type of robotic surgery – Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique.
SMART surgery is a minimally-invasive laparoscopic prostatectomy, which has 3 measure of success. First, it removes the entire prostate cancer cells, since it removes the entire affected organ. Second, sex after prostate cancer surgery is possible, a normal life can be achieved again. And third, urinary control is regained.
David Samadi has successfully performed over 7.000 robotic prostate surgeries and the procedure has been optimized over the years. Now it only takes 90 minutes and in most cases patients leave the hospital the day after the surgery was performed.
Inside the Operating Room With Dr. David Samadi: