Friday, January 06, 2012

Prostate Cancer

By Owen Jones

The prostate is an organ only existing in the male body - women do not have one. It is located deep within the under part of the body and surrounds the neck of the bladder and the first part of the urethra. It is fairly small being about three by four centimetres and is most easily got at from the back passage.

A couple of things can go wrong with the prostate and it is very probable that one of them will have an effect on every man in later life to some extent or another. Some of the most common problems are:

prostatitis which is the swelling of the prostate due to bacterial disease

the benign enlargement of the prostate which is a common part of the aging process, affecting many men over 50 years of age

prostate cancer, which is the fourth most common cancer in men

The growth of prostate cancer appears to be definitely linked to the existence of the male hormone androgen. Castration has a noticeable positive impact on the growth of prostate cancer.

The prostate is conical in shape, but has five definite lobes. Cancer nearly always develops in the rear-most lobe, whereas benign growths appear to prefer the other lobes.

All problems with the prostate have the impact of making urination difficult. This is why older men tend to go to the toilet often. Prostate cancer also grows faster than most other types of cancer.

Because of this, older men ought to have tests for prostate cancer quite frequently. Not only does prostate cancer grow quickly, but it also spreads rapidly. The medical term for this spreading is 'metastasis'.

If this kind of cancer is not diagnosed soon, it will spread quickly through the various internal organs, the lymph nodes and the blood. Death may happen soon after detection, unless it is caught at a very early stage.

Self diagnosis is almost impossible because it is a small internal organ buried between the penis and the anus. One of the first indications is a problem with urination, but by then it can already be too late to avoid metastasis.

If the cancer progresses to the bladder and urethra, urination will become painful and there might be blood in the urine as well. If the cancer is advanced, urination might become impossible and kidney issues will follow soon. Kidney failure or kidney disease is a common side-effect of prostate cancer.

If the metastasis is well advanced, there could be back pain in the lumbar area or in the hips. Shortage of breath would indicate a further development of the cancer to the lungs. A general feeling of weakness might be the next symptom.

if caught early enough, prostate cancer can be treated fairly successfully. Frequently a catheter is needed, but it could also mean dialysis if the kidneys have been severely affected.

Part of the prostate may be removed, but it is also possible to remove it completely, although not without consequences. Other solutions include hormones and chemotherapy.

Some individuals say that prevention can be procured by homeopathic treatments or a healthy diet, but the jury is out on that one officially.

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