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The prostate is only found in men and its function includes producing seminal fluid which aids in transporting sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer which involve men, and it's a slow growing cancer which initially stays confined to the prostate. Prostate cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in males after lung cancer and it is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths in men worldwide as well.
Symptoms and signs of prostate cancer
The early stages of prostate cancer may cause no signs and symptoms. When the cancer becomes more advanced, then signs and symptoms may include the following:
- There's a decreased force in the stream of urine.
- Trouble urinating.
- Blood in the semen.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Pelvic area discomfort.
- Bone pain, especially the lower back.
Risk factor for developing prostate cancer
Certain factors increase the risk of developing prostate cancer and they include the following:
- Advancing age - the risk of developing this cancer increases with age. A study found that 80% of men above the age of 80 who had died of other causes had prostate cancer.
- Race - black men seem to be more at risk for developing prostate cancer when compared to other races. The prostate cancer in black men also tends to be more advanced or aggressive but the reason for this in unknown.
- Family history of prostate or breast cancer - if there are any first degree relatives, such as brothers or fathers, who were diagnosed with prostate cancer then the risk of getting prostate cancer increases. It also seems that if there's a family history of breast cancer, or the presence of genes which increase the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 or 2), then this also increases the risk of prostate cancer.
- Obesity - men diagnosed with prostate cancer who are also obese seem to be more likely to struggle with the management of advanced disease.
Complications may arise secondary to advanced prostate cancer or even the treatment of this cancer. These may include the following issues:
- Urinary incontinence - the reason for this can be due to obstruction caused by the cancer or due to narrowing of the urethra due to certain treatments of prostate cancer such as radiation therapy or brachytherapy. This can be managed though with certain medications and the use of catheters and surgery to remove any strictures.
- Metastatic cancer - prostate cancer can spread to nearby organs such as the rectum and the bladder and can spread to other organs and bones via the bloodstream and the lymphatic system.
- Erectile dysfunction - the cause of this issue is the same as mentioned above. Managing this can be done with certain medications and the use of vacuum devices as well as surgical implants.