Prostate Cancer: Causes and Risks

A common type of cancer observed in men, prostate cancer occurs in the tiny gland that generates seminal fluid responsible for nourishing and transporting sperms. Typically, this type of cancer advances gradually, so it is confined in the prostate gland for a long time, causing no symptoms. Prostate cancer that grows slowly might need minimal or no treatment at the initial stages. However, the ones that seem to be aggressive will require prompt medical attention. When detected early, the prognosis for prostate cancer is considered to be positive. In the early stages of this condition, the patient might not exhibit any symptoms. As cancer progresses, it could trigger signs and symptoms such as blood in semen, trouble urinating, bone pain, erectile dysfunction, and discomfort in the pelvic region.

The exact cause of prostate cancer is still not determined. However, researchers conclude that this condition starts when the DNA molecules in the cells start mutating, enabling the abnormal cells to multiply. The growing number of cancerous cells then overwhelm the healthy cells in the prostate, causing them to die. The following are some of the common factors that amplify the risk of prostate cancer:

1. Age
The risk of prostate cancer magnifies as one ages. It is typically observed in men aged above 60.

2. Ethnicity
Individuals belonging to an African ethnic group carry an elevated risk of developing prostate cancer. Moreover, prostate cancer in such cases is more likely to be advanced or aggressive. Medical investigators haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact reason behind such biological behavior.

3. Family history
If a close relative in one’s family has a history of prostate cancer, then the risk of prostate cancer automatically escalates for other members. Additionally, genes such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 that increase the risk of breast cancer also happen to increase the chances of developing prostate cancer.

4. Obesity
Being obese boosts the risk of prostate cancer which possibly could be advanced, thereby more difficult to treat.

If one fits into any of the risk factors above, they should consult with their GP to know more about screenings for prostate cancer. Getting screened regularly especially after 50 can prove to be prudent as can help detect cancer in early stages. There is no empirical evidence that links the prostate cancer to factors such as vasectomy, alcohol or tobacco, infertility, prostate infections, circumcision, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Some risk factors such as age and genes are inevitable, though certain research studies suggest that quitting smoking and following an anti-inflammatory diet can help prevent this condition.

Prostate cancer treatments
As mentioned earlier, men with non-aggressive prostate cancer might not need treatment immediately. In such cases, the doctor will monitor the progress of cancer. The treatment will be initiated once the condition triggers any symptoms that are affecting the patient’s quality of life.

Surgery to remove the prostate gland, hormone therapy, radiation, cryoablation, chemotherapy, and biological therapy are some options that might be used to treat prostate cancer. What treatment method the doctor uses purely depends on the tumor size, its nature (aggressive or non-aggressive), and the overall health of the patient.