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Prostate Facts

Prostate cancer is quite common especially in men over 65 years of age, but any man from 45 has an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

What is a Prostate?

The Prostate is a small (the size of a kola nut) organ which surrounds the urethra (the tube that takes urine from the bladder out of a man's body). It is a male sex gland (a gland is an organ which secretes a fluid). Men are born with a prostate gland.

Why is the prostate important?

In addition to producing the fluid that carries sperm, the prostate also plays a crucial role in male reproductive health by secreting prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which helps to liquefy semen and enhance sperm motility.

Can the prostate develop any problems?

Yes, it can. The prostate starts growing in size during puberty. Puberty is the period when a boy’s body matures into that of a man. The prostate is a gland that typically keeps growing throughout a man’s life. The actual cause of prostate enlargement is unknown. Aging and changes in the cells of the testicles may have a role in the growth of the gland, as well as testosterone levels.

What are the different problems affecting the prostate?

Enlarged prostate/Benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH), Prostatitis and Prostate cancer.

Enlarged Prostate/BPH

This is the most common prostate problem in men. Half of men between the ages of 50-60 years will develop it. The enlarged prostate narrows the urethra making it difficult for urine to pass out of the body. If you have any of these symptoms please visit a medical doctor-:

  • Frequent need to urinate especially at night

  • Straining and pushing to pass urine

  • Inability to empty bladder fully

  • Poor urine stream and dribbling / leaking after urination
     

Treatment: Watchful monitoring, Drugs and Surgery when indicated

Prostatitis

This is inflammation of the prostate gland. There are three types-: Bacterial prostatitis, Non bacterial prostatitis and Prostatodynia.

The symptoms include-:

  • Fever and chills

  • Frequent or painful urination

  • Aching muscles, pain in lower back and fatigue

  • Occasional discomfort in the testicles and urethra

  • Low sperm count, blood in urine or semen, sexual difficulties
     

Please see a medical doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

The following things increase your risk of getting prostatitis-:

  • Frequent unprotected sex with multiple partners

  • Excessive alcohol and spicy marinated foods

  • Injury to the pelvis

  • Having sexually transmitted diseases

  • Having a bladder infection
     

Treatment-: Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, in some instances surgical management is warranted

Prostate Cancer

What is prostate cancer (PC)?

A prostate tumor is a lump created by an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells. It can either be malignant (cancerous) or benign.

Cancerous tumors can grow through your prostate and spread to other parts of your body (through the bloodstream of the lymph system) where they may grow and form secondary tumors. This is called a metastasis.

The symptoms are the same as seen in BPH with the following additional symptoms-:

  • Chronic, hip, thigh and lower back pain

  • Blood in the urine or semen

  • Loss of appetite


Unfortunately, it is only when the cancerous tumor has advanced that most men will get symptoms which lead them to see a doctor. So about half of the men diagnosed with prostate cancer will already have it in an advanced or late stage when treatment is long, expensive,  painful and often futile. PC is the leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer but if detected early it can be cured.

WHAT TESTS ARE THERE FOR THIS CANCER?

Prostate cancer may be suspected following a rectal examination (DRE), Trans-rectal ultrasound or a blood test called PSA. However, it can only be confirmed by examining prostate tissue under a microscope (BIOPSY).

The cause of prostate cancer isn't fully understood at present; age, family history and race are risk factors.

Treatment-: The mode of treatment depends on many factors. Treatments include Removal of the prostate, Radiation therapy, Hormone therapy or Cryotherapy. 

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