Prostate Cancer and Treatment
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancers in men. It begins when cells of the prostate start growing uncontrollably making it larger than normal. The prostate gland is only found in males and creates a fluid that is part of semen.
Types of Prostate Cancer
The cancer is identified by the type of cells where it originates and spreads from. Understanding the type of prostate cancer a patient has is the first step in deciding the treatment.
- Acinar Adenocarcinoma is cancer that develops due to growth in the lining of the prostate gland. Everyone affected by prostate cancer has this condition.
- Ductal Adenocarcinoma develops due to growth of the tubes of the prostate gland. This type of cancer spreads faster than Acinar cancer
- Squamous cell cancers develop due to growth of the fat cells surrounding the prostate.
- Transitional cancers develop in the tube that carries urine to the bladder to be discharged from the body.
Cause of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer starts due to small genetic changes in the DNA of the prostate cell. These changes cause the cells to start reproducing and creating more copies which result in the growth of the prostate.
It is not known what triggers the DNA to start behaving in this way but there are some risk factors that have been linked to cancer.
Prostate cancer starts affecting men after the age of 40 and the cases appear to rise after 50. The majority of people with prostate cancer are over 65 years old.
Although prostate cancer can affect men from all ethnicities, the number appears to be higher in males from recent African ancestry.
Cases of prostate cancer appear to be more common in Australia, Europe and the Americas than Asia and Africa. However, people from Asian and African backgrounds settled in Australia appear to be affected more compared to other ethnicities which is strange.
Some research shows that obesity is also positively correlated with prostate cancer although the link is not as high as some of the factors above.
Treatment of Prostate Cancer
In some cases the growth of the prostate might not actually be harmful. This happens when there is small growth in the prostate which only happens once and then the cells stop producing more.
It is possible that no further growth of cancer cells occurs for years after this initial development. Patients are recommended regular scans to monitor the condition.
Surgery could be an option in cases where the tumour is quite small and can be removed easily.
Radiation therapy uses a machine which directs radiation towards the growth in the prostate to destroy the excess cells.
Very small needles are inserted into the patient and directed into the prostate. A very cold gas is then passed through the tubes which freeze and kill the extra cells.
Chemotherapy is another method for treatment where the extra cells in the gland are killed with chemicals directly injected into the excess prostate glands.