Prostate Cancer

Know more the causes of Prostate Cancer, the most commom symptons and how to prevent it.

Prostate cancer or prostate adenocarcinoma is a malignant tumor of the prostate. This is a problem of alarming frequency, a reality that most men would be surprised to hear.

Statistically we can say that this is the most frequent type of cancer in men in France. It is also the second most important cause of mortality in men, after lung cancer. According to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, this disease kills more than 10,000 men per year in England, 4 times higher than that of women dying of cervical cancer.

In England every year 14,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed. In the United States there are 200,000.

But ask any man where your prostate is located, and chances are that they will not give a correct answer.
Prostate cancer mainly affects older men. To be more precise, let us say that it is very common in men over 55 years old, and becomes increasingly common as the man ages.

Moreover, almost all deaths caused by prostate cancer reach men over the age of 65, while half of all cases occur in men over 75 years of age. Being in the 70's and 80's most prostate cancers appears.
Nowadays, we are worried that prostate cancer seems more and more frequent. As it is the most characteristic type of cancer of the advanced age, and on the other hand, there are more and more elderly people in the current population, it will not be surprising that prostate cancer is more frequent.

If I have prostate cancer, what are my chances of survival?

An early diagnosis ensures a cure in 50% of cases.
The answer will not be simple nor evident, because it depends on several factors:
1- The age of the patient
2- The general state of health, not counting with the prostate cancer.
3- The time when the cancer was diagnosed.
In men over 75, the survival rate is about 50%. It is higher in younger men, and the younger they are, the higher the rate is.
Finally, be aware that the chances of survival are even greater if the cancer is detected from the onset, hence the importance of systematic and periodic screening from the age of 55.

What causes prostate cancer?

The exact cause of prostate cancer remains a mystery. Experts believe that some risk factors are identified:
1 - Hereditary factors. A man whose brother or father has prostate cancer is at least 3 times more likely to develop this disease than someone who has no such family history. If you have an uncle or grandfather with prostate cancer in addition to your brother and father, you will be at least 6 times more likely to suffer from the same disease than someone who has no family history.

2- The diet, mainly a very poor diet in vegetables, fruits and cereals, but very rich in animal fats, in the form of meat and dairy products - a regime widely used in Western countries.

(see here what is the best anti-cancer diet)
3 - According to the Cancer Research Campaign, American black men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer, with 50% more cases than whites in the same country. And this is probably due to their higher than average testosterone rate.

4- It is suspected that there is a possible link between the number of sexual partners that a man has had and the development of prostate cancer.

5- Human papilloma virus, which is sexually transmitted, may increase the risk of prostate cancer in men. In the same way it predisposes a woman to cervical cancer.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

In the early stages of prostate cancer, it becomes very difficult to detect it, because does not show any symptoms.

Thus, in about 90% of cases, cancer is triggered on the outside of the prostate, causing no urinary obstruction during the first stages of the disease. It can go unnoticed for some time, usually for a few years.
This type of prostate cancer develops very slowly, and can take up to 4 years to double its size, making its early diagnosis very difficult (unless it involves systematic screening).

In the more advanced state, prostate cancer causes symptoms similar to those of prostate hypertrophy. It is therefore very common to find prostate cancer in a man who has gone to a doctor's office due to benign prostatic hypertrophy symptoms.

Prostate hypertrophy is 10 times more common than prostate cancer, so be positive.

These two conditions have similar symptoms, so if your symptoms are the same as a benign prostatic hypertrophy, you may want to examine it more accurately for a precise diagnosis.
See here: What are the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy?

However, there may be no urinary tract symptom. The first signs of the disease may come from secondary tumors, or cancerous metastases, which are found mostly in the bones. In most cases, prostate cancer has a tendency to spread in the bones.

Cancer in the bones can give the following symptoms:

1- Pain in the bones, more intense at night.
2- Sensitivity in the bones
3- Fragile bones, subject to sudden breakage, without previous injury.
4- Fatigue
5- Loss of appetite
6- Weight loss
7- Anemia

How to diagnose prostate cancer?

In most cases, the cancerous tumor forms on the outside of the prostate, where it can be felt to the touch, like a hard lump. That's why one of the most important diagnostic tests to detect prostate cancer is the digital rectal exam. That can indicate a prostate of hard and knotty consistency.

The following clinical tests may confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer:
1 - Ultrasound scan of the prostate, by means of a probe inserted in the rectum, that detects the tumors as the abnormal sonorous echoes.

2 - Urography, also called pyelography, which serves to obtain radiographs of the urinary tract and requires the injection of a contrast product into the bloodstream.

3 - Prostate biopsy, which consists of collecting a tissue sample, to examine under a microscope. It is the safest way to determine if a tumor is benign or malignant.

4- A blood test to measure the rate of Specific Prostatic Antigen (SPA). It is a protein produced solely by the cells of the prostate). If the blood test reveals a normal rate of SPA - that is, less than 4 ng / ml - prostate cancer is very likely to be present. But if the rate is higher than 10ng / ml, there is a 60% chance of being a prostate cancer.

5- Blood test to detect anemia.

6- Blood test to check the functioning of the kidneys.

7- Blood test to measure the level of prostate acid phosphatase (a blood enzyme that indicates if prostate cancer has spread, forming a secondary tumor in the bones).

8- Bone scintigraphy, which allows to verify the extent of cancer spread in the bones.

9- Scanography or CT scan uses an x-ray detector to compose a 3-dimensional profile along the body to assess the spread of cancer in other tissues.

10- Lymphangiography, which consists in injecting a contrast product into the lymphatic vessels and monitoring its progression. Allowing to conclude whether the cancer has reached the pelvic lymph nodes.

What should I eat to keep my prostate in good health?

Through statistical studies, it has been shown that there is a very different incidence of prostate cancer among Western and Eastern societies. For example, the Chinese and Japanese in particular are less frequently victims of prostatitis, prostatic hypertrophy, or prostate cancer than Westerners. It is thought to be related to the great difference of dietary regimes, because in the East, the traditional regime is low in fat substances. It consists mainly of soya, fish, cereal and vegetable products, in particular yellow, orange and green vegetables, as well as vegetables of the cabbage and turnip family.

It has been observed that when the Orientals came to live to the West, the incidence of the different affections of the prostate increases again. It can be concluded that their protection is not genetic, but rather raised by the way of life and traditional eating habits that they are exposed in the West.

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Posted by Dr. João Carrilho

Dr. João Carrilho
Doctor in Traditional Chinese Medicine by Southwest Medical University, China.
Licensed Acupuncturist (N.0500096) and Phytotherapist (N.0400028) by the Portuguese Health Ministry.
Post-Graduated in Health Sciences at Oporto University, Portugal

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