Cancer can occur in any part of the body, but when cells begin to grow uncontrollably in the prostate, it is called prostate cancer.
The prostate gland weighs about 20 grams and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. When the prostate gland is working properly, it secretes prostate fluid and helps propel the seminal fluid into the urethra during ejaculation.
What is Prostate Cancer?
The most common type of prostate cancer is adenocarcinoma. Other (rare) types of prostate cancer include small cell carcinoma, neuroendocrine tumors, transitional cell carcinoma and sarcoma. Slow-growing cancers may require little to no treatment, while aggressive cancers may need serious intervention.
Prostate cancer can eventually metastasize and cause incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Cancer that has metastasized may have spread to the bladder, lymphatic system, bones and other organs. There is a low chance of curing prostate cancer once it has spread to other parts of the body.
Prostate cancer and its various treatments can cause urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction, which may be treated with medication and surgery.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
In the early stages, prostate cancer may not cause any symptoms. Prostate cancer that has advanced may cause bone pain, blood in the semen, erectile dysfunction, discomfort in the pelvic area, difficulty urinating, and decreased force in the stream of urine.
When You Should Consult with The Best Urologist in California
It’s important to act early — as soon as a patient notices anything out of the ordinary — in order to catch the cancer early and cure it. Patients experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer should consult the best urologist in California, Dr. Ahlering, for an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan.
Causes of Prostate Cancer
The exact cause of prostate cancer is unclear, but the following factors may increase an individual’s risk of prostate cancer:
Age. Older individuals are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
Race. Black individuals are at greater risk of developing prostate cancer, especially the more aggressive and advanced types.
Family History. Individuals with relatives who have had prostate cancer are at greater risk.
Genetics. The genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Obesity. Being obese increases the likelihood that the prostate cancer will be advanced and difficult to treat.
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
Patients exhibiting symptoms of prostate cancer may undergo the following screening exams:
Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). During this exam, the urologist will insert a gloved, lubricated finger into the patient’s rectum to check for any abnormalities in texture, shape or size of the prostate gland. Further testing may be necessary if anything is out of the ordinary.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. This test involves taking a blood sample from a vein in the patient’s arm to check the level of PSA in the bloodstream. PSA is a substance naturally produced by the prostate gland. Higher than normal levels of PSA may be a sign of prostate infection, enlargement, inflammation or cancer.
If the results of a DRE or PSA test are abnormal, the best urologist in California may recommend the following tests to diagnose prostate cancer:
Ultrasound. A probe is inserted into the rectum to generate a picture of the prostate gland.
Prostate Biopsy. A thin needle is inserted into the prostate to collect tissue, which is then analyzed to see if cancer cells are present.
Patients with prostate cancer should schedule an appointment with the best urologist in California to learn about treatment options.