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Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most prevalent cancer among men.

With the exception of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer among men, particularly for those over the age of 50 years.

In 2020, there were 1,414,259 cases reported of prostate cancer worldwide, making it the fourth most prevalent cancer in the world to receive a diagnosis.

While many prostate tumors develop slowly and are localized in the prostate gland, requiring little to no therapy, others are aggressive and can spread very fast.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer develops as cells in the prostate gland begin to grow. Because prostate cancer grows slowly and remains in the gland, many individuals choose active surveillance instead of radiation or surgery which are for cancers that spread and grow quickly.

Luckily, most prostate cancers are generally discovered before they have metastasized or spread to other parts of the body.

What are the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer?

During the early stages, prostate cancer may not exhibit any signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms that demonstrate a more advanced condition of prostate cancer include the following:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Blood in your urine
  • Blood in your semen
  • Bone pain
  • Pain and burning while urinating
  • Pain in your lower back, upper thighs, hips, and/or chest
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite

What are the different types of prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is generally categorized in two ways: localized and advanced. Localized prostate cancer is when cancer cells are only identified in the prostate or slightly outside of it, and it does not spread to other body organs. Advance prostate cancer refers to the state if the disease spread to other body areas.

There are typically 4 stages of prostate cancer that include the following:

  • Stages 1 and 2
    The tumor is in its early stages and has not progressed past the prostate. It is frequently referred to as "localized" or "early-stage" prostate cancer.
  • Stage 3
    The cancer has only reached surrounding tissues and has not spread outside of the prostate. "Locally advanced prostate cancer" is a common term for this.
  • Stage 4
    The prostate has not been the only site of the cancer; additional sites include the lymph nodes, bones, liver, or lungs. It is common to refer to this stage as "advanced prostate cancer."

The Anatomy of The Prostate

The primary role of the prostate is the production of seminal fluid, which nourishes and transports semen. Approximately 20–30% of the total volume of seminal fluid comes from the prostate.

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How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

Most health agencies advise men in their fifties to talk to their healthcare providers about prostate cancer screening. Addressing your risk factors and screening choices should be part of the conversation.

Prostate cancer screenings may include one of the following:

  • A digital rectal exam (DRE): This exam is conducted by your doctor who uses a finger that has been gloved and lubricated and inserts it into your rectum to feel your prostate. The majority of prostate cancers grow close to the side of the prostate and a DRE may detect it. The exam may also reveal an enlarged prostate, lumps or nodules of prostate cancer or discomfort from prostatitis.
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) testing: PSA is a protein produced by both healthy and cancerous cells in your prostate gland. A blood test is used to assess PSA. High levels of PSA may indicate the presence of prostate cancer. A value over 4 ng/mL may be a sign of prostate cancer.

If a prostate abnormality is found during prostate cancer screening, your doctor may advise further testing to assess whether you have prostate cancer, including the following:

  • Ultrasound: A transrectal ultrasonography involves inserting a tiny probe into your rectum. The probe takes an image of your prostate gland, using sound waves.
  • Prostate biopsy: Your specialist can suggest a procedure to get a sample of cells from your prostate to establish if cancerous cells are present. A needle is used to remove and collect tissue from the prostate. To verify whether cancer cells have formed, a lab analysis of the tissue sample is performed

What are the risk factors of prostate cancer?

  • Age: Unfortunately, if you're over the age of 50, you have a higher chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. It's important to note that prostate cancer affects men older than 65 in about 60% of cases.
  • Genetics: Prostate cancer risk is higher in men who have Lynch syndrome, also known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), a disease brought on by inherited gene alterations. Additionally, men's prostate cancer risk can be elevated by inherited mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which are linked to a higher likelihood of breast and ovarian cancers in some families (especially mutations in BRCA2).
  • Family history: Some research indicates that prostate cancer runs in certain families, which implies that there may occasionally be a hereditary or genetic aspect at play. A man's chance of having prostate cancer more than doubles if his father or brother has the condition. Additionally, men who have many relatives with the disease are at significantly higher risk, especially if those relatives were young when the cancer was discovered.
  • Origin, including race and ethnicity: Those that are of African descent as well as Caribbean men of African ancestry have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer, even before the age of 50 years.

Not all prostate growths are cancerous

Some ailments that may exhibit prostate cancer-like symptoms include the following:

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
    The medical condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also referred to as prostate gland enlargement, is brought on by the expansion of stromal and epithelial cells in the prostate gland.
    Although this condition may enlarge your prostate gland, it, however, does not raise your likelihood of developing cancer.
  • Prostatitis or inflammation of your prostate gland, which is often caused by bacteria and can be spread from your rectum or from infected urine
    4 different types of prostatitis include chronic prostatitis, acute bacterial prostatitis, chronic bacterial prostatitis, and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.

What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?

When your prostate becomes enlarged it usually interferes with one’s ability to urinate due to the fact that the prostate completely surrounds your urethra—the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body.

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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Medications

Alpha-blockers improve urine flow and reduce bladder outlet blockage by relaxing the smooth muscle in your bladder neck. They do this by blocking alpha-1 adrenergic receptors.

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How is prostate cancer treated?

Some men with prostate cancer may not require treatment since it frequently develops slowly especially when they are elderly or have other significant medical issues. For those patients medical professionals could advise observation, also referred to as watchful waiting, or active surveillance.

Active surveillance is a term that frequently refers to closely watching cancer. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests and digital rectal exams (DREs) are often performed at least once a year during medical visits. Every 1-3 years, imaging exams and prostate biopsies may also be performed.

However, in certain cases, the term "observation" or watchful waiting is used to denote a less rigorous kind of follow-up that may involve fewer examinations and a greater reliance on changes in a man's symptoms to determine if therapy is necessary.

For prostate cancer that has spread outside the prostate, the following options can be used:

Hormonal therapies for prostate cancer

The hormone treatment is called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). In ADT, testosterone, the main mals sex hormone, is suppressed to stop the cancer from spreading and growing.

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists or luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists

These medications reduce the quantity of testosterone the testicles produce. Since these medications suppress testosterone levels almost as well as orchiectomy (a surgery that removes 1 or both testicles) does, they are sometimes referred to as medical castration.

Testosterone levels may rise briefly when LHRH agonists are first administered before rapidly declining to very low levels. The intricate process through which these medications function causes this effect, commonly known as a tumor flare.

LHRH agonists are injected or placed as small implants under the skin. They are administered anywhere from once a month and once every 6 months, depending on the medication being utilized.

  • Leuprolide (brand: Lupron)
  • Goserelin (Zoladex)

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists

Advanced prostate cancer can be treated with LHRH antagonists. This medication function somewhat differently than LHRH agonists, but they reduce testosterone levels faster and don't result in tumor flare-ups as LHRH agonists do.

  • Degarelix (Firmagon)

Anti-androgens (first-generation)

The majority of prostate cancer cells need androgens to connect to an androgen receptor protein in order to grow. Anti-androgens are medications that interfere with these receptors to prevent the formation of tumors brought on by androgens.

  • Bicalutamide (Casodex)
  • Flutamide (Eulexin)
  • Nilutamide (Nilandron)

Anti-androgens (second-generation)

This medication is considered a newer anti-androgen drug that can be used if when older anti-androgen medications were not effective.

  • Enzalutamide (Xtandi)

Androgen biosynthesis inhibitor

Abiraterone reduces testosterone production by interfering with a particular CYP-17 enzyme (a vital enzyme used in the production of steroids) involved in the formation of steroid hormones in male testes and adrenal glands. In other words, this medication is used to stop your body from producing androgen, which are male hormones that may encourage prostate gland tumor growth.


When hormone treatment fails to treat prostate cancer effectively and has spread outside the prostate gland, chemotherapy may be employed. Several studies have also suggested that chemotherapy combined with hormone treatment may be beneficial. Keep in mind that chemotherapy is not a typical treatment for early-stage prostate cancer.

  • Docetaxel (Taxotere)
  • Cabazitaxel (Jevtana)

Docetaxel and the steroid medication prednisone are often used as the initial chemotherapy therapy. Cabazitaxel is frequently the next chemotherapy treatment attempted if this does not work.

There is evidence that the newer chemotherapy medications Docetaxel and Cabazitaxel help men live longer on average. These might improve quality of life and perhaps halt the progression of cancer. However, it's important to keep in mind that prostate cancer generally cannot be cured by chemotherapy.


Immunotherapy is the use of drugs to help your body's immune system detect and more efficiently eliminate cancer cells.

How can prostate cancer be prevented?

Unfortunately, there is no effective method for preventing prostate cancer. Though, by making healthy decisions, you may lower your chance of developing prostate cancer by incorporating the following lifestyle changes:

  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week
  • A diet that’s low in fat
  • Increasing your everyday intake of fruits and vegetables.
  • Decreasing the number of dairy products you consume on a daily basis.
    According to some research, the risk of prostate cancer was highest among men who consumed the most dairy products daily. Nonetheless, research findings have been conflicting, and the risk connected to dairy products is believed to be minimal.
  • Healthy weight