PROSTATE CANCER
INTRODUCTION
Have you ever wondered if people really understood their bodies? We surveyed a group of men of varied ages and professions, on how much they knew about the prostate and prostate cancer. Over 50% were unaware!
ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER
The prostate gland is found only in males. It is just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The tube that carries urine (the urethra) runs through the center of the prostate. There are several types of cells in the prostate, but nearly all of prostate cancers start in the gland cells. Some prostate cancers can grow and spread quickly, but most of the time, prostate cancer grows slowly.
SYMPTOMS
During the early stages of prostate cancer there are usually no pronounced symptoms. However, when symptoms do exist, they usually include: (a) Problems urinating or holding in urine, (b) Blood in the urine, (c) Pain in the spine, hips, ribs, or other bones, (d) Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, (e) Loss of bladder or bowel control, (f) Erectile dysfunction. As these symptoms mimic those of other conditions hence it is important to consult with a doctor if symptoms persist.
PATIENT PROFILE
Although prostate cancer is rare for men under 40, age isn’t the only factor. Others factors include: (a) FAMILY HISTORY - If your father or brother had prostate cancer, your own risk doubles or triples. The more relatives you have with the disease, the greater your chances of getting it.
(b) RACE - If you are African-American, your risk of prostate cancer is higher than men of other races.
RISK FACTORS
A healthy lifestyle is a crucial part of protecting yourself from developing a prostate condition. A good rule of thumb, if it is good for your heart, it is good for your prostate! Talk to your doctor about your risks of prostate conditions and what you can do to take charge of your health.
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Prostate cancer is definitively diagnosed by tissue biopsy; initial studies may include a rectal exam, ultrasound and PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels. Treatments for prostate cancer may include surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. Identifying prostate problems early is a way to reduce future prostate problems.
PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT
A diagnosis of any cancer is accompanied with an emotional and mental trauma for both the patient and the caregiver. There is shock and disbelief over the diagnosis. There is a feeling of being pushed into treatment without adequate time to adjust and accept the diagnosis. The patient needs to cope with the side effects of the treatment whether surgical, radiation or chemotherapy; and accept some of its long term and irreversible side effects.
PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT
A diagnosis of any cancer is accompanied with an emotional and mental trauma for both the patient and the caregiver. There is shock and disbelief over the diagnosis. There is a feeling of being pushed into treatment without adequate time to adjust and accept the diagnosis. The patient needs to cope with the side effects of the treatment whether surgical, radiation or chemotherapy; and accept some of its long term and irreversible side effects.
SURVIVOR STORY
“When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer I thought the best way to cope with it was to treat it casually and practically. With my nephew a doctor I had support both medically (more so as I was very much a part of the decision making) and emotionally by my wife and family. It was not that I did not have problems what with the stomach upset, joint pain, nausea post chemo, but I decided that I have to just go on. I did not allow my diagnosis or its treatment to change my routine I went to work every chance I got. Prostate cancer is not the end of the world, you can be productive, creative , there is nothing to stop you. Ok you may die of cancer, but no one lives for ever, So make the best of what life has to offer.”
– Sharad Kagal, Prostate Cancer Survivor
LIFE BEYOND CANCER
Rigorous and active cancer treatment may be over, but for the rest of your life your physical health and follow-ups is important for you to keep well. As cancer survivor, learning to take charge of your health, daily life, mind and your dreams will make your transition to normal easier. Though, ‘normal’ may now mean something different from normal before the cancer.
NEW ADVANCES
(a) Genetics: New research on gene changes linked to prostate cancer is helping scientists better understand how prostate cancer grows.
(b) Prevention: Researchers continue to look for foods that affect prostate cancer risk. They are trying to develop related compounds that are even more powerful and might be taken as supplements.
(c) Early detection: Researchers are now studying several new blood and urine tests to see if they might be better at finding prostate cancer early.
(d) Treatment: Many newer treatments for prostate cancer are being developed, and current treatment methods are being improved. These include surgery, radiation treatment, newer treatments, nutrition & lifestyle changes, hormone treatment & immunotherapy, to name a few.
PREVENTION
As the exact cause of prostate cancer is not known, it isn’t possible yet, to prevent most cases of the disease. Based on what we do know, there are some things you can do that might lower your risk of prostate cancer. (a) Eat at least 2-3 cups of a wide variety of vegetables and fruits each day. (b) Remain physically active. (c) Stay at a healthy weight.
EXPERT SPEAK
"Recent advances in diagnosis and management of prostate cancer helps in more effective management of patients. For optimal results, always seek a second opinion from an expert team. Regular checkups help in detecting prostate early and an early diagnosis means a shot at complete recovery." says Dr. Bhalchandra Kashyapi - MBBS, MS, DNB (Surgery), Urologist, Onosurgeon
QUIZ
Many men are living with old preconceptions about prostate cancer treatment and the effects on their lives. Separate the myths from the facts in this simple quiz. www.webmd.boots.com/prostate-cancer/prostate-cancer-quiz
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