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  • Writer's pictureThe Oncologist

Prostate Cancer

What is it? Prostate cancer is cancer of prostate gland. The prostate gland is a small sized gland found in the pelvis below the bladder, present in only men. The prostate gland wraps around the urethra (the tube through which urine exits the body) and lies in front of the rectum. The prostate gland secretes part of the liquid portion of the semen, or seminal fluid, which carries sperm made by the testes. The fluid is essential to reproduction. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that develops in men.

Prostate cancer is comprised nearly always of cells that arise from glandular tissue. Cancer cells are named according to the organ in which they originate no matter where in the body we find such cells. Thus, if prostate cancer cells spread in the body to the bones, it is not then called bone cancer. It is prostate cancer metastatic to the bones. Metastasis is the process of cancer spread through the blood or lymphatic system to other organs/areas throughout the body. Prostate cancer more commonly metastasizes to lymph nodes in the pelvis and to the bones.

What are it's Symptoms? A patient with early prostate cancer usually has no symptoms. However, prostate cancer symptoms associated with enlargement of the prostate due to prostate cancer, which may occur with early and advanced stage disease, include the following:

*Frequent urination, during the day and/or at night *Difficulty in starting (hesitancy), maintaining, or stopping the urine stream *A weak or interrupted urine stream *Straining to urinate *Inability to urinate (urinary retention) *Loss of control of urination *Difficulty urinating when standing, requiring sitting during urination *Pain with urination or ejaculation *Blood in the urine or in the semen

Many symptoms of early cancer of the prostate can also be attributed to noncancerous conditions of the prostate like the infection in the prostate gland or urinary system.

Signs and symptoms of advanced prostate cancer (late stage prostate cancer) that has already spread from the prostate gland to elsewhere in the body (called metastatic prostate cancer) include;

*A new dull, then progressively severe, pain in the bones, especially the low back; *Unexplained weight loss; fatigue; *Increasing shortness of breath while doing activities previously well tolerated; *Low-impact fracture of bone(s) without a lot of trauma (or broken bone[s] from minor trauma); and *Swelling of the legs related to obstruction of the lymph tissue by prostate cancer.

Diagnosis of prostate cancer at an early stage presents a high success rate in treatment.

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