Prostate cancer (CaP) is a malignant tumour of the prostate gland.
Causes and Risk Factors
The risk of getting prostate cancer increases with age. Being of African descent increases the risk of prostate cancer, and carries with it a more aggressive variety of the tumour. Consumption of a high fat and low fiber Western diet has also been linked to Prostate Cancer. Patients who smoke are also thought to be at an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Since ED and CVD share similar risk factors, patients with ED may require a cardiac check as well.
Your doctor will most likely take a detailed history, including a sexual history, and perform a physical examination, including a prostate examination. You may need to undergo blood tests or further specialized investigations, if your doctor deems them necessary.
Patients with prostate cancer display no symptoms in the early stage of the disease. It is therefore prudent to have a prostate “screening test” done annually after 45 years of age. The screening includes a digital rectal examination and a PSA blood test. Should there be an abnormality in the rectal examination or an elevation of the PSA level, your doctor will recommend that you undergo a biopsy of the prostate gland.
In the late stages of prostate cancer (locally advanced or metastatic disease) the patient may confront some of the following symptoms:
- A weak urine stream
- Blood in the urine (haematuria)
- Urinary incontinence
- Erectile dysfunction
- Generalized body pains
- Bone pain
Patients with early (localized or organ confined) prostate cancer have an excellent chance of cure with maintenance of quality of life after treatment. The treatment options for localized prostate cancer include:
- Active surveillance
- Radical prostatectomy (Robotic Assisted
- Laparoscopic Prostatectomy or open radical prostatectomy)
- Prostate brachytherapy (the insertion of radio-active seeds into the prostate gland)
- External beam radiation therapy
Each treatment option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Your doctor will discuss these in detail with you and decide on the most appropriate treatment for your localized prostate cancer.
Patients with locally advanced CaP or in patients who have metastatic CaP, a cure is usually not possible. However, the urologist and the oncologist work together to slow down the growth and further spread of the tumour. Hormonal therapy will usually be recommended, with or without radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The specific treatment depends on many factors, including your general health, the extent of the disease, your symptoms and what treatment your medical aid will cover.