Prostate cancer is a condition that affects the prostate gland, which is part of the male reproductive system. It is the second most common cancer among men worldwide, and it is estimated that one in every eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. It is important for men to understand what prostate cancer is, what the symptoms are, and how to protect themselves from this potentially life-threatening condition.
The prostate is a small gland located between the bladder and the penis, and it produces fluid that helps to nourish and protect sperm. Prostate cancer occurs when the cells in the prostate gland begin to grow abnormally and form a tumor. In the early stages, prostate cancer may not cause any symptoms, but as the tumor grows, it can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Difficulty starting or stopping urination
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Blood in urine or semen
- Pain in the lower back, hips, or thighs
It is important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, such as an enlarged prostate or a urinary tract infection. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a healthcare professional for an evaluation.
Prostate cancer is typically diagnosed through a combination of a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. During a DRE, a healthcare professional will insert a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for any abnormalities in the prostate gland. A PSA test measures the level of a protein produced by the prostate gland in the blood. If the PSA level is elevated, it may indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
If prostate cancer is diagnosed, treatment options depend on the stage of the cancer and other factors such as age and overall health. In some cases, active surveillance may be recommended, which involves monitoring the cancer with regular check-ups and tests. Other treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. In advanced cases of prostate cancer, chemotherapy may also be used.
While there is no surefire way to prevent prostate cancer, there are steps that men can take to reduce their risk of developing this condition. Here are some tips for protecting yourself from prostate cancer:
Get regular check-ups
Regular check-ups with a healthcare professional can help to detect prostate cancer early when it is most treatable. Men over the age of 50 should have a DRE and PSA test every year, while men with a family history of prostate cancer or other risk factors may need to start testing earlier.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help to reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer. Avoiding foods that are high in fat and red meat may also be beneficial.
Regular exercise can help to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of many types of cancer, including prostate cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
Smoking is a major risk factor for many types of cancer, including prostate cancer. If you smoke, quitting can help to reduce your risk of developing this condition.
In conclusion, prostate cancer is a serious health concern that affects many men around the world. Understanding what prostate cancer is, what the symptoms are, and how to protect yourself from this condition is important for maintaining good health. By following these tips and getting regular check-ups with a healthcare professional, men can reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer and detect the condition early when it is most treatable.
About The Author
Dr. Leo is a highly-qualified and dedicated primary care physician who graduated from Manila Central University College of Medicine in 2018. He passed the Physician Licensure Exam in 2019, and has since gained valuable experience practicing in various settings such as being a company physician, doctor-on-duty for outpatient clinics, and a telemedicine practitioner.
What sets Dr. Leo apart is his dual-certification as both a physician and a registered nurse, having passed the Philippine Nurse Licensure exam in 2012. He has a unique perspective on healthcare as he believes in taking a holistic approach addressing the root cause of an issue rather than just treating symptoms. He is dedicated to finding long-term solutions for current disorders and preventing new ones.