Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate gland. It is listed amongst the top 10 leading cancers in India. Prostate cancer primarily affects men above 65 years of age. The prostate is a small gland, near about the size of a walnut, that lies between the bladder and the penis. It is responsible for the secretion of fluids that make up the semen. It is a very common type of cancer that usually progresses at a very slow pace, rarely spreads beyond the gland. However, some types can be quite aggressive and metastasize quickly.What are the symptoms that you need to look out?
- Frequent to urinate, especially during the night
- Traces of blood in the urine and semen
- Experiencing pain or burning sensation while urinating
- Pelvic pain
- Pain in the back and hips
- Erectile dysfunction
- Weak flow of urine
- Dribbling urine involuntarily
- Unexplained loss of weight
Various modalities available for the screening and diagnosis of prostate cancer are listed below:
- Digital rectal exam (DRE) to examine the shape, size and texture of the gland
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to assess the amounts of PSA in your bloodstream
- Imaging modalities like ultrasound and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which help to generate detailed images of the prostate
- Biopsy of the tissue sample collected from the prostate
Local treatments – Local treatments like surgery and radiation therapy aim at removing cancer from a specific area of the body where it is localized. These can help to completely get rid of the cancer when it is in an early stage.
- Surgery – It involves the removal of the prostate gland along with the affected lymph nodes. This procedure is commonly referred to as prostatectomy and is further categorized into radical prostatectomy, laparoscopic/robotic prostatectomy, bilateral orchiectomy and transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).
- Radiation therapy – It involves the use of high-energy radiations to target and destroy cancerous cells. External beam Radiation therapy is the most common type of radiation therapy that is given with the help of a machine by focusing x-ray beams on the targeted area from outside. In some cases, the doctors may use protons instead of radiation beams. This is known as Internal Radiation therapy or brachytherapy which involves the introduction of radioactive material directly into the prostate of the patient to generate high-intensity radiations from within.
- Systemic treatments – It involves the use of certain medication to destroy the cancer cells. These are prescribed by your oncologist and include the following
- Chemotherapy – In chemotherapy, our doctors will use a group of drugs to stop cancer from spreading. Cancer cells absorb the drugs faster than normal cells, thus slowing their growth. These drugs can be delivered through a vein or a catheter, depending on the stage of cancer.
- Hormonal therapy- Hormone therapy is also called androgen suppression therapy.The goal is to reduce levels of male hormones, called androgens, in the body, or to stop them from fueling prostate cancer cells.