As with most
cancers, early prostate cancer does not cause noticeable symptoms. If the cancer causes
the prostate to swell or if the cancer spreads you will notice -
a frequent need to
difficulty starting or
stopping the urinary stream and a burning sensation when urinating or ejaculating.
a weak or interrupted
blood in urine or semen.
Eventually, if the
condition is left untreated -
dull pain or stiffness in
the pelvis, lower back, or upper thighs.
loss of weight and
appetite, fatigue, nausea, or vomiting.
The prostate is a gland is
only found in the male reproductive system. This walnut sized gland helps produce semen,
the thick fluid that carries sperm cells. It is located close to the bladder and problems
in the prostate ultimately will affect the bladder as well. Prostate function is regulated
by testosterone, a male sex hormone produced mainly in the testicles.
This disease is more common
in men later in life. There are many men who surprisingly have cancerous cells in their
prostate and that do not know it. The cancer may or may not spread. It can also lie
dormant for many years, cause no obvious problems and or health threats. If however, it
starts to become activated and spreads, it is a dangerous threat.
It is generally fatal if it
spreads beyond the prostate gland itself.
A malignant tumour may grow
through the prostate gland and spread cancer cells to surrounding tissue, including the
rectum and bladder. The cancerous cells may also invade the lymphatic system or
bloodstream and then spread to the bones, liver, lungs, and other organs.
Doctors have identified a
certain protein that is evident in cancerous prostates. If high levels of this protein are
found in cancerous tissue samples, the prostate cancer is unlikely to spread, or
metastasise; if there is none of the protein, the cancer is likely to spread.
Cancer that has not spread
beyond the prostate gland can usually be cured.
Prostate cancer affects
mainly elderly men. Men with relatives who have prostate cancer are more likely to die of
it than others. It is not known for sure what causes this disease but experts agree that
diet contributes to the risk. Men who consume great amounts of fat (particularly from red
meat and other sources of animal fat) are most likely to develop symptoms of advanced
Fats can stimulate
production of testosterone and other hormones, and testosterone speeds the growth of
prostate cancer and can cause dormant prostate cancer cells into activity. Eating meat can
also be detrimental to the cancerous cells if cooked at high temperatures, they can
contain carcinogens. (See the entry on cancer).
There is no scientifically
proven link between prostate cancer and
an active sex life
use of alcohol or tobacco
infection of the prostate
an enlarged prostate
Doctors know which prostate
cancers are the most in need of treatment. It is advisable to seek several opinions with
regard to your condition.
Depending on many factors,
your treatment may include a combination of radiation therapy, surgery, and hormone
The standard operation
involves the removal of the prostate and nearby lymph nodes. Speak with your doctor about
the implications and side effects that this may entail in your particular case.
All prostate cancer
patients need to be examined regularly to ensure the problem does not return.
As fat has been implicated
in the development of prostate cancer, it is highly advisable that men eat a low-fat, high
fibre diet. This is particularly advisable for those with family history of the disease.
Studies indicate that men
with chronic deficiencies of
vitamin A or selenium
are prone to advanced prostate cancer. Always speak with your doctor before taking these
nutrients as they can be toxic in high doses. Good natural sources of vitamin A include
most green and yellow fruits and vegetables, as well as liver, lamb.
Some men may experience
fatigue, diarrhoea, uncomfortable urination, dry skin, nausea, and other unpleasant side
effects. Ask your doctor how best to control these side effects. Rest frequently if you
need to, eat light snacks throughout the day rather than having three large meals, and
avoid clothes that irritate your skin. (For more information, see Cancer).
Eat more fish, poultry,
fresh vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products. Eat less red meat; remove skin from
chicken before cooking; and cut down on butter, margarine, and oils.
To avoid carcinogens
created when cooking meats, try poaching or roasting, not frying or barbecuing.
When to seek further